Leadership—Are You Doing it Wrong?

Perhaps in times past it was enough to give people a place to work, provide job description parameters, and some system of accountability to make sure they were getting things done.

I believe those days are over.

And it’s our own fault.

We have taught people that God has a plan for their lives. We have encouraged people to pursue their passions. We have discipled people to believe that their talents matter to the Kingdom of God.

If we do not then follow through and assist people in finding and living out those passions, they get frustrated. Disappointed.

What we are saying does not match the systems we have set up.

My friend C. describes the goal of where we all want to get to as convergence– the place of effortless fruitfulness of living in the fullness of all God created you to beIt’s about rowing downstream (who you are created to be) with God’s current (your Kingdom assignment)
It is Joseph flourishing in the palace having been shaped by the journey to get there—both in development of skill and in ironing out his sinful rough edges.

All this leadership talk we have as a church keeps us so focused on explaining and maximizing the vision, we have forgotten the true calling of a leader—to lead others to convergence.

My friend B. says that where your gifting and talent intersect with the needs you see around you, that is your God-given assignment. Her goal is to help people discover that and then help them discover the courage to live it out.

But those ideas are not my main thought. Though they support it.
As church leaders, we need to stop seeing our jobs as placing people into the right slots of our organization so that we can fulfill our vision and start seeing our jobs as releasing people into their right slot in the Kingdom even while they are still working for us!

I’m going to swing the hammer 11 times. Hopefully, I’ll hit the nail at least once.

Keep thinking! Continue reading.

The Business of Church Part 3

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It’s not very sexy to say, but few things matter as much as organizational structure. The way we live—literally determined by a sequence of choices born out of belief—determines everything.

This is very true of the church as well. Whether good or bad, the structure of our churches exactly matches what we really believe. There’s no way around it.

As we continue to til the soil of understanding about how the church does its work, we have looked at this important definition:
A. A business is an organization involved in the trade of goods and/or services to customers in exchange for money.
B. The efficient and effective operation of business is accomplished through the management of financial, capital, and human resources.

Last time we talked about money. This time we focus on organizational structure.

Keep thinking! Continue reading.

The Business of Church Part 2

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This is the second part in my series of posts on the Business of Church. In this post, I continue to till the soil of our understanding—to dig up the roots underneath our thinking and our philosophies of ministry. We will plant some seeds, but for now we are still plowing.

In part one, I question our thinking process itself. Why do we think the way we do? The scientific method lurking behind our western processing of facts pushes us to drive towards efficiency with the unintended consequence of dehumanization. That represents one row in this field.

Part two continues this questioning, but in a different row of the field.

Keep thinking! Continue reading.

The Business of Church Part 1

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Call it a personality deficiency if you must, but I have always distrusted hierarchies.
It is not in my nature to accept authority. (Isn’t that true for all of us?) Particularly, titled authority that lacks the requisite gifting and intelligence (but more importantly, or less harshly perhaps, the needed capacity to love).

I freely admit this distrust is part of the filter I bring to the topic of church and the way we do our work as the church (and, incidentally, the hermeneutic I weave into the book of Acts and the Epistles).

It is this innate skepticism towards those in charge that is part of the reason I find myself rejecting the leadership movement of the last decade.
(Did it start with John Maxwell* in the 90s? I don’t know for sure. I just know I don’t like it, and it does not appeal to the deeper longings of my soul.)

Additionally, my distrust comes from my personal experience. I have experienced the relentless crush of the ministry machine masquerading as the church. And yes, usually there is a “leader” at the helm cracking the whip for more, bigger, better.
(The fact that the more, bigger, better is tightly connected to their personal goals and finances should not be ignored.)

There has to be a better way to carry out our mission.

Keep thinking! Continue reading.

The Project Recipe: 3 Key Ingredients

Photo credit: Barnaby Norwood http://www.barnabynorwood.co.uk

I have come to realize, almost every task I do as a Church Technical Leader is a project – from a video shoot to a room remodel to implementing a new initiative. Good project management is like a recipe. If you start with great ingredients and combine them in the proper way, you will get good results.

The basic ingredients of successful projects are three-fold:

  • effective project management
  • well executed individual contributions
  • seamless communication

This post is going to be more about tasks – the doing part of the job. Just knowing you are responsible for the outcome is not where the secret lies. The secret, if there is one, is in the ingredients. And, for all my church techies out there, these principles mirror the way God leads, and that’s how you know you are getting it right.

Keep thinking! Continue reading…