Read to Lead

Read at every wait;

Read at all hours;

Read within leisure;

Read in times of labor;

Read as one goes in;

Read as one goest out.

The task of the educated mind is simply put: read to lead.

~ Cicero

 HT: Huffington Post

 

What are you reading right now?

Careful Selection

“One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.  When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles.”  Matthew 6:12-13

Choosing the twelve was a significant leadership decision.

These twelve would be the core group that Jesus would invest in the most.  His focus was on teaching and training them to establish the church after he was gone.

Jesus knew his time was short.  He had limited time to teach a group of leaders how to carry on his work on Earth.

While he went about his ministry, he also was strategically building into and investing in this group.

He modeled for us what it looks like to invest in others.  He displayed what it looks like to do the work we’re called to do while also developing others along the way.

None of us know when our season will end.  In our modern world, career change is common and we must constantly think about who we’re preparing to take over for us when we’re gone.

The first step in succession is careful selection.

The verse above says that Jesus spent the entire night before he selected the twelve praying.  It doesn’t say that choosing the twelve was his only topic of prayer but given that the first action he took after his night of prayer was gathering the disciples and naming the twelve, it’s a safe assumption that praying about who those twelve should be was likely a key part of his prayer time.

Prayerfully selecting our teams is essential.  Many of us in the haste and pace of our lives hurry to add staff members without counting the long term cost of that selection.

Building teams is a critical responsibility for every leader.

How much time, attention and prayer are you devoting to selecting your core team?

#LentChallenge – What’s Your Gift?

As I was reading Luke’s account of Jesus birth, I was struck again by the significance of God choosing Mary to birth the Messiah.  Why her?  What stood out about her?  How did she get God’s attention and favor for this tremendous gift?

I don’t know why God chose Mary.  I marvel at how honored I would feel to be chosen for that responsibility.  I anticipate all the emotions that she must have wrestled with.  I wonder what I would have done in her shoes.  How would I have stewarded this amazing gift?

But God has given me (and you) a gift too.  He has given me gifts, talents, experiences and opportunities that he hasn’t given to anyone else.  He has given me these to steward, to cherish, to develop and to release into the world for his good, for his glory.

What he’s asking me to do is the same thing he asked Mary to do, just a different gift.  He asked Mary to be faithful to steward the raising of Jesus.  We too have been asked to be faithful to raise up the gifts that God has given us.  Would Mary have ever dreamed of starving or neglecting Jesus?  Would she have kept him hidden?  Would she abandon him or abuse him?  Would she scorn him or ignore him?  I don’t think so.  Mary knew the tremendous value of this gift that was her’s to steward and she was faithful to that responsibility.

What are you doing with your gift?  Are you cherishing it and developing it or are you ignoring it and squandering it?

Whatever you’re gift, your responsibility is to be faithful.

Satisfying the Crowd

Our #LentChallenge reading is helping me to see stories from a new perspective, to see layers beneath the common narrative of the text.

This week in reading the book of Mark, there was one short sentence that grabbed my attention:

“Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate releases Barabbas to them.” Mark 15:15

This was a pivotal point in the crucifixion story.  Pilate was reluctant to have Jesus charged and sentenced to death.  He wasn’t convinced a crime had been committed.  He didn’t find sufficient evidence.

But Pilate was swayed by the crowd.  He was afraid of a riot.  He was navigating the politics of his culture and rather than do what was right, he took the path of least resistance.

Have you ever been guilty of “wanting to satisfy the crowd” in your leadership decisions?

Some of my greatest regrets as a leader are the times when I chose to do what was easy rather than do what was right.

In what areas of your leadership are you satisfying the crowd?

#LentChallenge – Week 2: I Want to Know Jesus

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This practice of reading through the gospels is so good.  With each red letter I’m seeking to know Jesus just a bit more.  What was his tone, his demeanor?  What did his eyes convey as he spoke?  What emotion did he evoke as he taught or corrected?

For as wonderful as the words are, I still long to know his heart, hear the passion he emoted through what he said.

I’m grateful for movies and mini series that have attempted to portray Jesus, but for all of their great work I still don’t feel like they’ve captured my Jesus.  There is always something missing.  And perhaps that’s appropriate because how could any of us in our humanness really capture the essence of Christ?

So as I continue to read during this #LentChallenge, I find myself wanting to know Jesus better.  I’m praying the words continue to give me a glimpse of his character, an expression of his heart and that in the seeking he’ll speak and I’ll grow to know him better.

How about you… what are you hoping to take away from our 40 days?

 

Coaching Groups & Cross-Country Moves

Hey everyone!

Sorry that I’ve been so quiet here on the blog lately.  Rest assured that given just a bit more time I’ll come back with some learnings and ideas from this great transition.  The past week has been exceptionally packed.

Thursday and Friday I hosted part two of my third coaching group.  These ladies are simply wonderful!  I grow and learn with each group that has gathered.

Coaching Group 3

I’m so proud of the work that they are doing in churches and organizations across the country!  What a treasure to spend my last two days in Nashville with them.

Several of you have asked whether I will continue doing coaching groups once I’m moved.  I am planning to do more groups but have not set the dates for the next group yet because these days I don’t know what I’m doing tomorrow, let alone what I’m doing for the next six months! :)   Seriously, leading coaching groups is one of my greatest joys so once I get settled a little bit I’ll be sharing details for Group #4.

Saturday I hopped a plane one-way to San Francisco to make my new home in Menlo Park.  What an adventure!

Monday was my first day at work.  It kind of felt like the first day of middle school where I worried about what I was going to wear and if I had all the right supplies.  I survived!  The team at MPPC has been extraordinarily kind and supportive.  I look forward to sharing with you so much more.

How are you doing with the #LentChallenge?  I’m enjoying the reading and will be sharing some thoughts later this week.

Thanks for your prayers, support and encouragement for my transition.  I am blessed to be a part of a social community that is with me wherever this great adventure may take me!

#LentChallenge Begins

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One of the things I love about Margaret Feinberg is that she is always looking for ways to connect us more with Jesus.  The way she lives out her faith and seeks after her Savior inspires me.

Today she is kicking off the #LentChallenge.  A 40 day journey to read through the New Testament in this lenten season.

I encourage you to join us.  Commit to reading about 30 minutes each day and let’s see what God speaks to us through this time.

Plus, the great team at YouVersion has made the reading plan available.  Click here to subscribe to The 40-Day New Testament Challenge

Will you join us?

 

4 Steps to Regaining Perspective as a Leader

“The key is being willing to do something because it matters, not because it will get you noticed.”

John Maxwell from The 360 Degree Leader

What’s your motive for leadership?

I’ll admit.. I easily fall into the trap of desiring leadership because I want the attention and the accolades that I perceive come with it.

But that’s not what leadership is about.  There will never be enough attention, accolades or praise to satisfy the sacrifice that leadership requires.  We have to be willing to lead because it matters.  If praise or acknowledgment never came our way, we need to be content because we know that what we did mattered.

I suspect that most of us start out with healthy motives for leadership.  I think we aspire to leadership because we believe that what we’re passionate about leading matters.

But then we drift…

towards entitlement

into unmet expectations

into exhaustion, impatience, frustration

And before long we’re not leading because it matters.  We’re leading to prove ourselves, to get attention.

We lose sight of our driving motivation and we lose our way.

When I sense that I’ve lost my way as a leader, here are some things I do to reconnect with the motive that matters:

1) Repent.  Pray for forgiveness for misdirected desires and ask God to reconnect my heart to the reason why I wanted to lead.  What is the cause that I believe mattered enough to give my best to?

2) Rest.  Poor motives usually follow poor rhythms of rest, sabbath and rejuvenation.

3) Regroup.  Connect with friends and mentors who can remind me of my calling and purpose.

4) Reengage.  Get back in the game with fresh perspective and renewed energy.

 

Consider the Lilies

Lily

“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin”  Luke 12:27

I’m prone to toiling – defined as “hard and continuous work; exhausting labor or effort”.

I do this of my own accord.  It’s a drive to achieve, a desire to win favor, a pursuit of perfection.

Two lines before that Jesus asks, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?”

And ultimately he reminds us that God provides.

All our worry, toiling, spinning is for naught.

What are you toiling over today?

Consider the lilies…

 

For All My Artist Friends

Sorry.  This giveaway has ended. :(

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Douglas Mann has recently released his new book The Art of Helping Others: How Artists Can Serve God and Love the World.  Here’s a fun fact: Doug was one of the executives at the record label I worked for years ago.  He’s a passionate driven leader that as Ben Arment says, “has the hands of an artist and the heart of a pastor.”

Doug’s book is a beautiful confession of sorts – an authentic, heart-moving memoir of joy, pain, sacrifice and hope.  He beckons all of us to find the artist within and live it out for the glory of God.

Best of all I have a copy to giveaway!

Just leave a comment telling us about the artist in you.  I’ll choose a winner on Friday, February 21st.