LEADERS’ HARD TIMES
Hebrews 2:10 is very relevant for leaders today. The writer says that Jesus passed through suffering so that he might become perfect.
What an amazing statement about Jesus walking through life’s inequities – the injustice and lack of fairness of life – with his integrity intact. His passing through the worst of temptation and abuse gave him a complete experiential understanding of what church leaders endure.
In simple terms Jesus understands all the aspects of the ‘hard times’ we go though. He himself has ‘been there, done that!’
Jesus faced unfavourable situations
The reality is that all who serve Jesus will inevitably experience a similar range of situations he did –
• Loss of favour
Now it’s true that ministers will not pass through these circumstances with the same intensity that he did or with the identical end-result, but we’ll pass through similar territory.
Jesus is ready to help
When Jesus came before God as our high priest, he had already experienced it all himself – all the pain, all the testing. He was able to help where help was needed (Hebrews 2: 17-18, Message).
Many, even Christians, want life to contain only good times! In fact, if someone were to pass a law about that, we’d all feel happier most of the time. The reality is that…
• No one has, nor can anyone, pass such a law
• Those whose wealth allows them to live much as they’d like, seem to be no happier than anyone else.
• We live in a fallen world and unhappy things happen even to the best of people, even faithful Christian leaders.
But Jesus is there to help us when we need him.
Jesus is our friend
Jesus, Paul, James and Peter write of being happy (Joh.13:17, Acts 26:2, Rom.14:22, Jam.5:11, 1 Pet. 3:14, 4:14 NIV).
And despite troubling and tragic circumstances that arise in this fallen world, we can continue to express the happiness that we have found in Christ and through knowing him personally.
The Greek word for ‘happy’ also indicates being ‘blessed.’ However, while some translators use the word ‘happy’ to replace ‘blessed’, it is, of itself, inadequate. The word ‘happy’ conjures images that are not necessarily the same as blessed.
Happiness may exist because of the favourable circumstances in which we live, but blessedness describes the favour of God which is absolute in relational terms but may find no reflection in our circumstances.
Leaders – let’s all walk in this truth – with the help of Jesus. Then real happiness will be ours – all because Jesus became perfect through his suffering.
Tim Jack is a National Leadership Team member, Apostolic Church Australia. Links: firstname.lastname@example.org / mobile: 0412 277 918
EMAILS – MISCOMMUNICATION DANGERS
Dick Hardy, pastoral leadership consultant, writes:
One of the nagging components of life in the 21st century is dealing with the proliferation of email. We loved emails when they first arrived years ago.
How about today?
Although communication through e-mail is exponentially faster than handwritten notes or phone calls, it is not always better, and it certainly brings with it the risk of miscommunication.
‘Blast-you’ – not ‘Bless-you’ emails
In all cases, you must remain positive or neutral in the emotional tone of your emails and your reader must receive them as such.
If you have been around for any period of time, you have received one or more of the ‘I’m-going-to-blast-you’ emails. These come from people for reasons (in part or in total) such as the following:
• The person is gutless and cannot express their disagreement face-to-face. They might even attend your church.
• The person is not thinking clearly and tries to process their thoughts in an e-mail not realising they are doing so at your expense.
• The person has allowed their mind to go far beyond where yours has on the issue at hand. The result is a blurring of reality and fantasy.
Keep free of clutter
It is absolutely critical that church leaders not fall prey to the temptation to send a potentially real or perceived negative e-mail. In a matter of one click, you can damage your ministry, if not beyond repair, very close to it.
If you have an administrative assistant you trust to catch emails with any negative feel to them, you might have that person snag them and simply suggest you call the sender and indicate you apparently need to talk. Have your assistant give you the bird’s eye view of the email without the caustic components in black and white. Do not read it yourself. You need to keep your mind free of that kind of clutter.
On a few occasions, I have received an email from one of those non-thinking persons listed above and even one or two from those who have correctly (hate to admit it!) disagreed with me.
I immediately have done what most Spirit-directed men of God do. I fire up one of my finest nasty-grams. I read and re-read it, feel sinfully good about it, suspect I should not send it, re-read it again, feel good about my blasting, suspect I should not send it again, and then do the unthinkable! I hit Delete without thinking about it.
When you suspect you should not send an email, you most likely should not. Forget about how good the flesh will feel. Believe me, in the final analysis, an email of this nature does not even feel good because you never know when it hits. Then, frankly, you as the pastor or church leader have:
• Become gutless
• Become non-thinking
• Allowed your mind to blur reality and fantasy.
Face-to-face confrontation is best
You will say things in an email you would never say in person. When you say things in person, you have to be able to substantiate your statements. Not so in emails.
Here’s a thought for you. There are a series of verses in Matthew 18 that reference what to do when you move into a disagreement with a brother or sister. Noticeably absent from the instructions listed in verses 15 – 20 is the option to correct or disagree with a brother or sister by electronic means. In no way can you imagine Jesus’ tax collector discipline suggesting that anything other than face-to-face confrontation on issues of disagreement is the way to go.
Be a model responder
As a pastor or church leader, one of your roles is to model how to respond to criticism and differences expressed by others. It is not your role to be the ‘hide-behind-the-computer-screen’ respondent. Model responses to negative emails that come your way not by fighting fire with fire. Call the person immediately and talk. Even when you disagree, you will be amazed at how much softer they will sound.
For yourself, never put anyone, parishioner or other, in a position to have to decide to respond to your negative email. In short:
• Never send a negative email!
• If you create a negative email, delete it immediately!
If this idea is not clear, email me. But – if you disagree with me, for goodness sake don’t do you know what!
Question: Have you been guilty of sending a negative email? How did it turn out?
Recommended – Dick Hardy’s Right Turns – Link: email@example.com
7 CHARACTERISTICS OF AN INFLUENTIAL TEAM MEMBER
Leadership encourager Dan Black shares…
You can begin or increase your level of influence with the colleagues who are on the same team as you.
In The Leadership Mandate I wrote about the five main areas of influence, one of those being work. In regard to work I wrote, ‘Anyone has the potential to influence and impact subordinates, colleagues, direct managers, and upper management. This allows you to become a 360 degree influencer within your current job position.’
Since the average person spends a significant amount of time within a work environment, it would benefit us to adopt the characteristics that allow us to be an influential team member. Below are seven of the core characteristics you should know and adopt:
1. Positive attitude
A positive attitude really does matter. Winston Churchill said, ‘Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.’ People are drawn and want to work with those who consistently possess a positive and optimistic attitude.
To be an influential team member always choose to have a positive attitude.
Being competent comes when you are strong in a specific skill set, knowledgeable and also experienced within your chosen field. Performing on a level that allows you to deliver maximum results is one of the byproducts of being competent. It places you in a position where you are able to not only increase your influence with another team member but also with your boss.
Be and remain competent by becoming a lifelong learner.
An influential team member is dependable. This is when everyone on the team knows that you will show up (physically and mentally) and deliver only your best work. It has been said that, ‘Being dependable, on time and a productive worker is the best employment insurance there is’ (Author unknown).
Commit to being dependable will allow you to have influence within your team.
Relationships and influence are closely connected. Being a person of influence comes when you build friendships and stay connected to the lives of those you wish to influence. This happens by using some of your best time and energy on the people around you. To get to know and stay connected with them.
Take time on a regular basis to maintain your professional relationships with those on your team.
5. Vision focused
Those who have influence on a team are vision focused. There are two main areas that these individuals are vision focused. First, they have a vision of the work they are personally doing that will help the team win and secondly they also have a big picture of how their team’s contribution impacts the overall company’s goals.
Team members grab hold of the vision and take action by contributing their personal best.
An effective team works together. They are united in achieving the team’s purpose and goals. Mattie Stepanek said, ‘Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.’ This happens when the team gets along (Being relational) and works together. When you have some influence with your team, you should work to join and unite the other team members together. This will create a team that is more productive.
In turn it will allow you to be seen as an influential team member.
There is power in a kind word of encouragement. Everyone wants to feel cared about and valued. An encouraging word to a team member can bring strong positive emotions that will lift them up. Consistently speaking encouraging words to those on your team, will build respect and your team will want to be around you.
It will allow you to be seen as a positive influencer.
Question: Can you add to the list? What are some other characteristics that allow a person to be an influential team member?
Dan Black’s link: http://www.danblackonleadership.com
RECOMMENDED LEADERSHIP LINKS
• The Hardy Group http://www.thehardygroup.org
• Breaking Christian News http://www.breakingchristiannews.com/
• Faith & Leadership http://www.faithandleadership.com
• NACBA MultiBrief http://www.multibriefs.com/briefs/nacba/
• My Christian Daily http://www.mychristiandaily.com/
• Leadership Journal Newsletter http://www.christianitytoday.com/
• Church Leaders Update http://www.churchleaders.com
• Dan Black On Leadership http://www.danblackonleadership.com