Posts Tagged ‘leadership’


May 1st, 2015 No comments

Some quotes from leaders attending Orange Conference last week, via Brian Dodd:

The antidote to cynicism is curiosity. The curious are never cynical. The cynical are never curious. The cynical have it all figured out.—Carey Nieuwhof

There are no balanced old people. You’re really angry or you’re really happy.—Carey Nieuwhof

Jesus prepared for 30 years and taught for three. We prepared for three and try to preach for 30.—Carey Nieuwhof

If you write “Family” on your calendar you can tell people you have a commitment on that day.—Carey Nieuwhof

What breaks my heart is in the United States hundreds of thousands wake up on a Sunday and church never crosses their mind.—Andy Stanley

Business did not make systems up. God is a God of order.—Jenni Catron

We need to introduce systems at our staff’s point of need.—Jenni Catron

Encourage. Encourage. I can see the things which need to be fixed but not the things which are working well. We should be encouraging five times to every one criticism.—Jenni Catron

People out of their faith and obedience to God have given their resources and because of this you have a paycheck.—Jenni Catron

I’ve even found myself evaluating weddings.—Jeff Henderson

What is this generation of students worth? It’s worth everything.—Andy Stanley

Blame is a change-avoidance strategy.—Andy Stanley

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Pope Francis Interview

September 19th, 2013 No comments

I’m working my way through the interview with Pope Francis appearing today in the Jesuit publication America, but I liked this bit. Important word to people in leadership positions, especially in the church.

John XXIII adopted this attitude with regard to the government of the church, when he repeated the motto, ‘See everything; turn a blind eye to much; correct a little.’ John XXIII saw all things, the maximum dimension, but he chose to correct a few, the minimum dimension. You can have large projects and implement them by means of a few of the smallest things. Or you can use weak means that are more effective than strong ones, as Paul also said in his First Letter to the Corinthians.

Francis is talking about the corrections John XXIII oversaw with the Second Vatican Council. So some people might say that’s a pretty big “little” that John XXIII tackled. And if that’s the minimum dimension, it gives you a sense of how big the maximum dimension must be.

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Tab Sweep – Small Groups, Hitchens, Mainline Planting

January 16th, 2012 No comments

A quick list of some things I’ve read lately that are worth sharing:

First, the short but provocatively-titled “Taking Our Groups Off Life Support.” Key graf:

If we are going to take our groups off life support, we are going to need permission to re-imagine what gospel-centered community looks like. We will not change the preconceived view of groups by making participation a requirement for membership or by changing the names of our programs from “ministries” to “groups.” Small groups will thrive when they become the place where we experience life-giving transformation.

Second, “Learning from Christopher Hitchens,” an appraisal by Albert Mohler that is less a eulogy than, well, what it says: “Lessons Evangelicals Must Not Miss.” Mohler lists five such lessons, such as this one:

4. Hitchens did not hide behind intellectual scorn and he did not fear the open exchange of ideas. … Hitchens … was willing to debate evangelical Christians and to allow the debates to be publicized and published. He did not attempt to shut down debate by insulting his ideological and theological opponents.

Very much worth reading. If an outspoken atheist were admirable in so many ways, should not Christians be equally so, if indeed, not admirable in many other ways as well?

And finally, Landon Whitsitt tells young mainline pastor types to plant a church:

Am I the only one who sees a problem here? Not only do we want to “screw up the church,” but we also want the little old ladies pay for it? And then we have the audacity to be aggrieved when it doesn’t pan out? Come on. I thought we were smarter than this.

I’ve had concerns about the local-church-as-fixture (you know, “First XYZ Church of Anytown, U.S.,” celebrating a hundred years of doing the same thing) ever since I read Alan Hirsch’s The Forgotten Ways. I’m not sure convinced a local congregation was ever meant to survive for more than a brief season. Our expectations to the contrary seem to me to be baggage we’re carrying from Christendom. See also Whitsitt’s follow-on.

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On Mission Statements (Why Waste Time On ~)

May 29th, 2011 No comments

In another article, I talked about our new mission statement (“Sharing the Life of Christ”). I’ll be saying more about it later, but first I wanted to answer the obvious question: “Why a mission statement?” Mission statements are infamous wastes of time. People sit around hashing them out, they’re announced with great fanfare, and then, most of the time, they’re abducted by aliens and we never see them again. So why bother?

Chip and Dan Heath pass along an example of a mission statement. In it, Herb Kelleher, the longest-serving CEO of Southwest Airlines, explains his company’s mission to be “THE low-fare airline”:

“Tracy from marketing comes into your office. She says her surveys indicate that the passengers might enjoy a light entree on the Houston to Las Vegas flight. All we offer is peanuts, and she thinks a nice chicken Caesar salad would be popular. What do you say?”

[The interviewer] stammered for a moment, so Kelleher responded: “You say, ‘Tracy, will adding that chicken Caesar salad make us THE low-fare airline from Houston to Las Vegas? Because if it doesn’t help us become the unchallenged low-fare airline, we’re not serving any [expletive] chicken salad.'”

—from Made to Stick, p. 29

In the case of Southwest Airlines, there’s nothing wrong with the Caesar salad. It’s a good idea, and the customers would like it. But it doesn’t help Southwest achieve its purpose, so they don’t do it. We have a mission statement because we can’t do it all either.

We’re a small church in a small community and we have very real constraints. We have a small staff. (That would be me. My doctor says it wouldn’t hurt if I were 20 lbs smaller still, but that’s another discussion.) Our church has a number of wonderful people who help out in all kinds of ways, but there are only so many of us, and everyone has other things going on in their life in addition to what they’d like to do at church. Our budget is finite, and so are our facilities: seating and parking and so forth.

Since we can’t do it all, the mission statement reminds us what we’re trying to do. Our mission is to share the life of Christ. There are lots of places we can do that: in worship, in fellowship, in spiritual growth, and in evangelism and works of compassion. And there are lots of ways to share the life of Christ. But the methods and places are tactical. However good those things are in themselves, they are not our ultimate end, but only means to it.

The Apostle Paul wrote about how he had “become all things to all people” (1 Corinthians 9:22). But that wasn’t his mission. He didn’t do that because he thought God wanted him to be a chameleon. What Paul said was, “I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some.” His mission was to save some people. He was willing to be a chameleon to do so, so he became all things and used all means to carry out his mission.

I’d like to hear your thoughts. If our mission is to share the life of Christ, what are some things we do that advance our mission? What are some things about our church that are like chicken Caesar salad: not bad, but not helping us carry out our mission? What changes could we make to them so they did help us share the life of Christ?