DEALING WITH CRITICS WHO ARE ABSOLUTELY CLUELESS
We’re getting so many positive reviews about the free video series we put out last week, I thought I’d give them all to you on one page (with no opt-in required).
You get all four leadership barriers and solutions videos here: http://www.thehardygroup.org
In these videos, we shared about the seven primary barriers we’ve identified that can hinder a leader’s effectiveness:
1. Your personal growth is stifled
2. You must approve all decisions
3. You think the same
4. You’re not truly listening.
5. Your organisational structure has not changed
6. You’re not networking
7. You’re managing what you have.
I believe leaders can overcome these barriers, and the four short videos in this series address just how that can happen. Have fun!
PS. If you think these videos are pretty good (My wife says they are :)!), then you should definitely check out the full-blown Inner Circle here. http://www.thehardygroup.org
And I’m offering my latest book, Right Turns, as one of the bonus gifts to those signing up today! Check it out!
SYMPTONS OF A DYSFUNCTIONAL CHURCH
Thom S Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources (www.LifeWay.com) and many books including Surprising Insights from the Unchurched, The Unexpected Journey and Breakout Churches, recently wrote this challenging item for ChristianLeaders – Lead Better Every Day blog :
If you want to hear about really sick churches, then stick with me on this post. If you are tired of many of us writing about the sordid state of congregations, I understand. Skip this article and I will return with more good news in the near future.
So what is a dysfunctional church?
By definition, it is a congregation that no longer carries out essential biblical purposes. In other words, the church does not function properly; it is thus dysfunctional.
Unfortunately, I did not have to look far to find over 20 current examples of dysfunctional churches. In my quest, I found six recurring themes. In every one of the congregations, the church manifested at least three of these symptoms.
- Severe theological errors are pervasive in the church
I’m not referring to differences over minute matters of eschatology. These errors to which I refer were denials of the essential truths of the Christian faith. In some cases, leadership no longer held to the exclusivity of salvation through Christ.
- The church is known as a ‘pastor-eater’
The congregation often terminated pastors on a regular basis. At the very least, pastors felt the pressure to leave. Short pastoral tenure was thus normative.
- The congregation experiences severe conflict
Any group will eventually have some level of conflict: families, fellow employees, students and churches. But dysfunctional churches take conflicts to a new level, often resulting in emotional outbursts by members and leaders.
- Hardly anyone in the community knows the church exists
One of the simple steps I take in many consultations is to visit businesses within about a mile radius of the church. I ask them for directions to the church. If no one has ever heard of the church in that close proximity, I know something is wrong.
- The church is declining while the community is growing
An example works better here. Suppose your church has declined in worship attendance by three percent the past two years. Now suppose the community in which the church is located has grown by four percent the past two years. The contrast between the two growth rates is stark, a symptom of a dysfunctional church.
- The church is ‘family owned and family operated’
One particular family, even if it’s an extended family, makes all the decisions in the church. Nothing gets done without the nod of typically the patriarch or matriarch of the family. The church exists largely to meet the needs of one family.
What do you think of these symptoms? What would you add?
FIVE MYTHS LEADERSHIP MUST ABANDON TODAY
Carey Nieuwhof, Lead Pastor at Connexus Community Church north of Toronto Canada, speaks at conferences and churches throughout North America on leadership, family, parenting and personal renewal. This challenging item is adapted from a ChristianLeaders – Lead Better Every Day blog:
Myths are everywhere. But there are also leadership myths: Things that most leaders believe are true that really aren’t.
I think we’ve all fallen for a few. But how many are you still falling for? And what’s stopping you from abandoning them now? Once you abandon them, you’ll be amazed at the progress you make.
Here are five that I hate to admit I have fallen for at one time or another in my leadership.
1. Success will happen overnight
Who hasn’t fallen for this? And if you don’t believe it, you’ve secretly wanted it, haven’t you?
Yet there are very few overnight successes. Musicians often struggle in obscurity and near defeat for years before they break through. Same for writers, businesses and many other leaders.
Even North Point Church, launched in 1995, actually declined in attendance from its initial launch over its first few years before rebounding and becoming the story many church leaders know today. Just ask any of the founders: They’ll tell you those first few years were lean and very difficult.
So what do you do? Set realistic expectations. Work hard. Celebrate progress, even incremental.
As Winston Churchill (whose life was characterised mostly by disappointment prior to World War 2) said, success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
2. Smart work, not hard work, will win the day
Working smarter is better than simply working harder. Very true. Working 100-plus hours a week is the answer to very few problems and is completely unsustainable for more than a season. If you can be more efficient and more effective, by all means do so.
But smart work is no substitute for hard work. Working smarter doesn’t mean you can put in a few hours, hit cruise control and coast to victory. You will always have to work hard on your leadership. You’ll always have to work hard on leading yourself, your team and your mission.
That might not mean 70 hours a week, but it won’t mean cruising into the sunset. When you stop growing, so do the people around you. And eventually, the good people will leave. They want a leader to push them and push the mission forward.
3. I will get universal buy-in
This myth is so seductive.
There will be a day when I become a good enough leader that I will announce our next move and everyone will applaud wildly, right? Nope. That day will never come.
You might get most people to buy in, but you will never get everyone to buy in. This kills most leaders because it causes them to procrastinate. The myth makes them ‘wait’ until all the conditions are right to launch their big move.
Conditions will never be perfect. ‘Everybody’ will never buy in. Sometimes you just need to lead.
If you want to read more about how to lead change in the midst of opposition, I wrote my recent book Leading Change Without Losing It: Five Strategies That Can Revolutionize How You Lead While Facing Opposition to help leaders lead without universal buy-in.
4. There’s a silver bullet
So there’s one thing that will turn everything around, right? A silver bullet? A model I can just embrace and press play and everything will magically be wonderful? Right?
Wrong. As my friend Casey Graham says, systems trump silver bullets. And they really do. If you have a problem, the system you’re using created it. To change the outcome, change the system.
5. One day I will arrive
No you won’t. And if you do, you’ll arrive to learn you’ve missed the point. Effective leaders keep growing. They never stop.
One of the characteristics of great leaders who stay fresh is curiosity. They are just relentlessly curious, and the curiosity keeps them growing. Organisations that become complacent, like people who become complacent, inevitably decline.
The more successful you are, the more you will be tempted to think you have arrived. That’s why the greatest enemy of your future success is your current success.
Busting means growing!
Busting those five leadership myths has helped me grow as a leader.
How about you? What myths are you busting through?
Recommended: careynieuwhof.com / Christian Leaders