Wednesday, March 29, 2006

::Leadership: more then just staying above water::

What you are doing might not be leadership if you are not pulling significance and worth out of people.

Every youth workers worst nightmare almost became a horrible gasping reality for our team May long weekend a number of years ago: at a youth event we almost had a student drown. It may have been that he couldn’t swim. It may have been that he didn’t know it was the deep end. It may have been that he has only one and a half arms. It may have been that he had too much trust in the lifeguards. It may have been that or something or anything else. The fact is, without someone pulling him off the bottom end of the deep-end he would have died. Most leaders dream of developing leaders, however, while many of these same dreamy-eyed leaders are wiping the sleep out of their eyes their leadership teams are slowly, and, sometimes quickly sinking to the bottom without rescue. A lucid nightmare.

It has been my experience that close to 100% of people I talk to are more ready for challenge, learning, and development then they realize. I have found that the majority of these people are simply teetering on the edge of drowning or waving waiting for someone else to draw out worth and significance from their life. Now imagine what happens when I observe and identify significance in someone’s life and I challenge them to teach me and help me learn what they are so proficient and first-class at? Leadership development happens; they are learning to teach, they are learning to have confidence in their worth, and I am learning from them. Notice that this isn’t generally in the realm of workshop or seminar but in the backyard swimming pool where there are no lifeguards; a place where we need to teach each other to swim.

Pulling significance out of people beginning in relationship is nurtured in trust and compounds in the slowness of history; this is living life together.

Leaders highlight significance.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

::Credentialed Leadership::

Leadership without influence is not really leadership at all.

There does seem to be a huge cluttered mess of principles, values, how-to’s, models, and their opposites found stuck like duct-tape and hyphens in the rapidly expanding cosmics of leadership. Leadership, though a mass money maker and much sought after position, very well could be boiled down to a few bare essentials and elements that support this appetizing infrastructure. So, upon setting your stove element to high and placing leadership in a boiling pot of water, we are left with the leadership nutrient named influence.

Influence has maybe been poorly portrayed by the four p’s of peer pressure, persuasion, and power. Not that it doesn’t take a certain amount of influence to accomplish each of these goals…it is just that they are simply that; goals. Sex is a goal. Money is a goal. Career advancement is a goal. Leadership is a goal. No matter how many goals there happens to be on this dusty little planet, it does take a certain amount of personal influence to achieve those goals. If leadership is a goal then influence is all the hard work that helped you score (cf with above examples).

It is true that we can, on occasion and maybe more often then not, find ourselves in a position of leadership. Positional leadership means nothing; just because you have a title and a role to play does not mean that you are a leader. Without influence leadership is futile, frustrating, and potentially fatal for both the organization and the “leader”. It has been my experience that influence, and its by-product leadership, develops and matures at the same rate as credibility.

Credibility allows for influence. All the letters behind your name, titles under your name, and your name on a list of approved, credentialed, professional societies do not really mean a whole heck of a lot to people who don’t know what the letters mean, hold the titles as suspect authority, and simply don’t care about your professional organization. Credibility beginning in relationship is nurtured in trust and compounds in the slowness of history; this is living life together. Credibility breeds influence.

If we must lead, then we must lead from the depths of credibility and nothing else.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Significantly Why.

It’s not that I need to know what.
How has already been figured out.
Where could be anywhere.
I am simply apart of the collective who.
The when is behind me, ahead of me, and now.

We certainly spend a lot of time teaching and learning. How is it that children must be incessantly taught the answers to a myriad of dilemma but quite clearly come to questions all on their own? We force them to become masters of facts, formulas, equations, and essentials while they respond with their remorseless quest into the unmapped pursuit of why.


Why not.

I wonder if somewhere along the way, and in the name of maturity and mediocrity, we have abandoned this merciless quest and left it in the hands of the few brave martyr’s of thought and discovery? I wonder how many people have traded in this mischievous delight of pursuit for the cold calculated predictability of fact – whatever that means. True, the ordered world is alluring; alluring and artificial at best, alluring and comatose inducing at worst.

It may very well be that the most significant thing that you do with your life corresponds directly to how significantly you pursue why.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Conference on the Ministry

Emerging Church Dialogue.

Here are five values tht Mark deHoog and I perceive to be important filters that the emerging church dialogue should be perceived through. So, in no particular order of importance and simply for a continued conversation.........

1. Allowance to ask tough questions with the possibility of not actually ever finding conclusive answers.

2. Not against existing church but for church; it may mean change and may dislike certain expressions or cultural nuances of the existing.

3. Conversation over presentation; the difference between specalists and poets. (Ask Mark about this poetic hippie crap....)

4. Value of understanding over methodology.

5. We are more concerned about the meanings of words than the collection of letters themselves.

What are the implications of these 5 filters to such things as emerging theology, emerging leadership, emerging challenges, other emerging values, etc.

What is an emerging leader in relationship to the church? What are the implications of church to emerging leadership?

Feel free to use the comment section below to add your thoughts....

PS - If you are visiting for the first or second time make sure to spend some time browsing through the archives.
Grace and Peace.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


After much debate, dialogue, and conversation I have closed the preceding topic to further comment and would suggest that for greater clarity, learning, understanding, and encouragement that the conversation be continued in a “real life” context. I believe the statement below is a great statement to dialogue in the realms of theology, ecclesiology, and sociology and should be carefully considered with an open heart and mind.

It is interesting in Jesus’ prayer for his followers that he speaks of two worlds a Christian would be apart of; a broken culture and a restored culture. Immediately following he prays for the unity of his people. Thank you Jesus.

Grace and Peace to you.