• Leaders communicate clearly

    There is nothing worse than talking to someone and you walk away not knowing what they really said or meant. It is tough listening to someone who is just not clear in their communication.

    Leaders however must be noted by their clarity of communication.

    If you hang out with a great leader you see they communicate with confidence and with clear direct words. But how do you develop this?

    I have asked leaders and studied them and it seems that they do or are the following:

    Competent in their field – The reason a leader can be clear in their communication is that they know what they are talking about. They have had years in their field and they have thought deeply about what it means to be successful in their field. So when they speak they have a wealth of knowledge backing up their words which in turn makes their communication are clear and direct.

    They are prepared – Leaders are over prepared and this helps them to clearly communicate what they want. They have prepared what they want to say, how they want to say and why they want to say it.  I once sat down with an ex CEO of a multibillion dollar company and asked him about communication and he said that before every meeting whether it be a phone meeting, board meeting or just a meeting over a beer he would write down on a piece of paper what he wants to say and he would rehearse how he wanted to say it so that the best outcomes would be brought about. It is no fluke then that he was a brilliant communicator and leader. As leaders we should be striving for this kind of preparation.

    They are direct – Leaders never want to leave the people they lead thinking “What was I meant to do?” So they are very direct in communicating what they want and what is best for the organisation they lead.  This directness takes time to prepare but when they are prepared, leaders are direct in their speech.

    They have energy – When they communicate leaders have an energy that is infectious. They use words which have energy built into them. They use phrases which push forward in a loving way. They have artful turns of phrase that inspire, energize and encourage. Do you, as a leader, use your words to inspire, energize and build up?

    They love their people- as we have seen in the last post leaders love their people. This love helps the leader shape the way they communicate to each person they talk with.

    Leaders communicate in a way that inspires the people they love. They are direct and clear because they are prepared and competent in their field.

     

  • Leaders connect with people on an emotional level.

    Think of a leader you would die for? Think of a leader you love? Why do you love them? Why would you die for them? Is it because they have a title or a name? Is it because of their level of skill?

    Generally not.

    See we have all met people with a title (boss, pastor, rev, CEO) who are jerks and yet we have met people with a title who we love. Also, we have all met people who have great skill and knowledge and yet we don’t like to talk to them let alone die for them!

    What is the difference between a leader who you love and leaders who you don’t really care about.

    The difference is the leaders who we love make an effort to connect with us on an emotional level.

    Do you make an effort to connect with the people you lead on an emotional level?

    How do you do that?

    Speak – you need to speak to the people you lead and let them know how much you value them. Tell them that you love them, tell them that they did a good job and be specific and enthusiastic in your praise. Don’t say “hey that was very helpful”  say “Man I loved the way you did X because of these four reasons and I found it encouraging because of Y and man I can’t wait to see you do that again. Great job! Leaders connect with words

    Understanding- we all want to be understood. But do we as leaders go out of our way to understand the people we are leading? Do we seek to ask the question “Why are they thinking this?” or “Why is this an issue for them?” before we launch into a rebuttal of their views?

    Emotional intelligence – I sat down with a woman a few days ago who interviewed a bunch of candidates for a pastoral position. I asked her what she thought of the talent coming out of the local bible college and her response was “They generally lack emotional intelligence!” Emotional intelligence is the ability to discern the where a person or a group of people are at emotionally and to tailor actions and words to the emotional climate. Young men find this extremely hard because we want to fix things and win. Emotional intelligence forces us to slow down and think but also do the hard work of communicating and caring. As leaders we need to work on our emotional intelligence. We need to empathise with the people we lead and we need to laugh and cry with them too.

    Do what you say you will do – A way of loving people is to come through on your promises. If you say you will pray for them do you pray for them? If you say you will do something by this time do you do it? Are you a person who the people you lead can say “He or she loves me because they show it in their actions.”

    Apologize – When leaders who connect screw up they apologize. Not because it is a wise tactical move but because they are genuinely sorry. Who do you have to apologize to?

    Leaders do the hard work of connecting with people. They know that leadership is all about relationships. They love their people and this comes our in everything they do.

  • Leadership boils down to three things

    I have read a lot of books on leadership in my short stay on this earth and I have been amazed at how many different things that leaders need to do or be. John Maxwell thinks there are 21 Laws of Leadership, Kouzes and Posner in the Leadership Challenge thinks there are five practices of exemplary leadership. I dunno about you I can barely remember 5 things let alone 21 and so is there a way we can boil leadership down to just the core essentials?

    I have been watching Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares lately and seeing learning what he does as a leader. Now some of you are thinking that Gordon Ramsay is that loud mouth pom who drops the F bomb a lot and so he is not to be taken seriously. But what I have noticed when I have been watching Kitchen Nightmares is that he is a great leader. If you have haven’t seen the show, Gordon comes into a restaurant that is usually about to close and has one week to turn it around. The selling point is the conflict but what I am seeing  is leadership.

    It seems that Gordon Ramsay does three things when he comes into a struggling kitchen and these three things are the things that I think all leaders do.

    1. Connect with people
    2. Communicate clearly
    3. Chart the course

    Over the next three days I will be blogging about these three things that all leaders do which will help me clarify my thoughts as I work on them myself.

     

  • What I learnt from John Stott

    Today I read this:

    “Those self-appointed evangelical leaders come across as hypocrites, monetizing Jesus rather than emulating him. Some seem homophobic, and many who claim to be “pro-life” seem little concerned with human life post-uterus. Those are the preachers who won headlines and disdain.”

    The quote is taken from a piece in the New York Times about John Stott who passed away last week. This article basically says how well Stott did at emulating Christ and how badly other more well known christian leaders have done in this area.

    It made me think what does the world hear from me?

    What does the world hear from my church, Resolved?

    What does the world hear from us as Christians?

    Do they hear that we love them as we take a stand on the issues we should take a stand on?

    Do they hear compassion as we preach?

    Do they hear and see both truth and tears or is it just cold truth?

    One of the things that I loved about John Stotts writing and his preaching was his ability to say what was true about our world and our condition and yet he came never across as judgmental but loving and caring. You could hear and feel as he preached and wrote that these weren’t just ideas and words he was preaching and writing about. These words and ideas were designed and crafted for people and so he needed to communicate them with care and love.

    I hope one day I can master preaching the hard truths of the gospel with love and care just like John Stott did.


  • Lies the church tells about sex: Gay people choose to be Gay

    I remember sitting across from my friend who was in tears. He was gay and he had been living with his partner for 3 months now. Every time I brought up anything to do with Jesus there was this massive amount of hostility and so one day I asked him where did this hostility come from?

    He said that he was a Christian once and he grew up in a Christian family. He also told me that he knew he was gay since he was a kid and one day he plucked up the courage to tell his pastor about his sexuality and his pastor asked

    “Why did you choose to be gay?”

    As you can imagine he didn’t stay long at that church. He went to eleven other churches and every time he brought up his sexuality he was told that he chose his sexuality.

    He said he didn’t choose it. He told them he didn’t want to be gay.

    They told him he obviously did want to be gay that is why he chose it!

    When I hear Christians say that gay people choose their sexuality it raises a whole heap of questions

    Why would a person who is a Christian choose to be something that they know is wrong?

    Why would anyone choose a lifestyle where they know at least one person they love will reject them because of their choice?

    If they chose it so easily why don’t they just choose heterosexuality when the gospel is made clear to them?

    I think when a Christian says that gay people choose to be gay they don’t understand the doctrine of Total Depravity. Total depravity means that sin has corrupted every part of our nature and therefore what we like and dislike, what we find attractive and unattractive will be marred by sin’s stain.

    Total depravity has affected my sexuality when I struggled with pornography.  I didn’t want to be attracted to the images on the screen but I was.

    Total depravity affected my friend by making attracted to other men. He didn’t want to be attracted to other men but he was.

    If we take total depravity seriously we have the theology to say to a person who says they never chose to be gay “I believe you.”

    This may be the first step in sharing about how we are all sinful and need Jesus. Or it may be just the first conversation they have with a Christian who has not tried to correct their experience.

    We all know gay people, we need to learn, as a church, how to speak to them with grace and love.

     

  • Why you shouldn’t be a tough pastor

    I remember a church planter coming to check out my church. He said he liked my sermon and that he heard a sermon that morning which was so weak he wanted to “Punch the preacher in the frigging neck!” A friend of mine who looks like he could go bear hunting with a twig and come back with seven carcasses and who also does ultimate fighting for fun and fitness (!!!) was listening in on this conversation. After the church planter left I turned to my huge friend who could kill me in an instant and I said “What did you think of that pastor. He is tough eh?” And my friend quietly said “I don’t want a pastor who is going to punch guys in the neck. I want a pastor who loves his people. I don’t want a tough pastor I want a biblical Pastor who loves me.”

    When I look at the biblical qualities of a pastor (1 Timothy 3 etc.) and I look at what Jesus says should define us as Christians (i.e. John 13:35) the word tough doesn’t even get a mention.

    What should define us as pastors or Christians? I think my thickly muscled brother was right. What should define us is Love. We should be loving people. Think of Jesus and Paul, they both loved (e.g. John 15:12-13, 1 Thessalonians 2:7-11). In fact I think we can say their ministry was defined in large part by the fact the loved their people. But here is the most interesting thing, they were extremely tough. Both took beatings (Matthew 27:26, Acts 16:16-24), both were deserted (Mark 14:43-52, 2 Timothy 4:9-18) and people rejected their preaching (John 6:60-70; Acts 17:32-34).

    It seems to me that if we define ourselves by trying to love our people we will be tough.

    It seems as though love produces grit and toughness

    Whereas many pastors and other men who want to be tough lack love

    That is why I don’t want to be a tough pastor I want to be a loving pastor

    I want love to define me as it did with Jesus and Paul

     

  • You should only go into ministry if…….

    When I was at Bible College I had this conversation too many times:

    Me: Why did you choose to go into ministry?

    Person: Well I wasn’t really thinking about it all and then my (insert ministry worker here) tapped me on the shoulder and said I should think about it. So I went to (insert Christian conference here) and they encouraged me to do (insert apprenticeship name here) and now I am here.

    Me: How did you meet your wife/ husband?

    Person: Well I really didn’t like anyone and so my (insert ministry worker here) tapped me on the shoulder and said I should think about my spouse and so I did. So he asked me out/I asked her out at (insert Christian conference here) and to make a long story short we are here.

    Me: Why did you buy that shirt?

    Person:  Well I really didn’t like it and but my (insert ministry worker here) tapped me on the shoulder….

    The first two interactions were based on real conversations I had with people at Bible college. The third one was a joke (obviously).

    I know of a guy who was at Bible college got depressed and hit the eject switch and went back to working a normal job, which he loved. He then felt guilty because he wasn’t in ministry so he went back to Bible College. I pray that it all works out for him….

    I think there is a big push in Sydney to go into fulltime paid ministry. This push is based on godly motives (i.e. more workers for the harvest) but I see a lot of people being guilted into ministry not being led into it by the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

    Please only go into ministry if all of the following are true

    1. Your spouse or future spouse is cool with it. This is a no brainer. If your spouse or your fiancée is not cool with it don’t go into it. Love your family over yourself and take a normal job and serve your butt off at your local church

    2. Ministry captures your imagination. What I mean by this is that you want to do it. That you think of your perfect future and fulltime paid ministry looms large in it. You think that if you got to the end of your life and didn’t go into ministry you would regret it.

    3. People have seen ministry gifts in your life. If people haven’t seen gifts in your life or people have discouraged you from ministry please listen to them. They love you and are saying the hard things to you out of love. If people have encouraged you in your gifts and they have been encouraged by your gifts this is a good sign.

    4. You are not going into because you are angry with your pastor. I have heard too many pastors say they got into because they could do a better job than their pastor or that they had a point to prove. If this is you don’t go into ministry until this attitude is checked at the door.

    The world needs more gospel workers but we need ones who are truly called by God into ministry.

    What do you think?