Dick Hardy


Dick Hardy, pastoral leadership consultant, writes:

Organisations that continually improve realise that continual improvement is necessary to thrive. Think about it – every computer and smartphone user experiences this on a regular basis. You can hardly go a week without needing to install another update for your apps or devices.

Companies continually release updates to work out bugs, make things better, and of course, to make more money. With our ever-changing society, we’re used to the constant need for updates.

The ministry world
Sadly, I find it interesting that many ministries miss this aspect of our current societal behaviours and expectations. Making updates is just part of who we are as individuals, and it needs to be a part of the DNA of every ministry.

What are the areas of ministry that you need to improve, and more specifically, how can you make those improvements? I suggest every ministry carefully examine every aspect of the ministry to determine what areas could use improvement.

This is a process no doubt, but taking time to answer the three following questions will help you stay sharp and make sure you’re fully maximising your efforts as a ministry.

Three questions for continual improvement
1. Why do we do this?
Oftentimes we do things because that’s the way they’ve always been done. Clearly that’s not always the best. Sometimes what worked in the past isn’t best for the future.

2. Is this relevant to today?
You’ve likely heard it said before, ‘What got you here won’t get you there.’ As time progresses, society changes, technology changes, and people change. Simply because something worked one way in the past may not mean it’s relevant for today.

3. Is there a better way?
Efficiency is the key! Sometimes the process for doing something in the past was necessary due to the circumstances at that time. But later, there may be a way to process the same thing in a more efficient manner. Asking yourself if there is a better, more efficient way can save you time, energy, and money.

Giving careful consideration to these questions on a continual basis will help your ministry stay effective at fulfilling the mission God has given you. In fact, I would encourage you to walk through these questions as a leadership team to identify where you can improve.

God has a lot he wants to accomplish through his church and, as he leads you, I know continually improving what you do will help you reach more people and make a difference for eternity!

Dick Hardy booksRecommended – Dick Hardy’s Right Turns – Link: dhardy@thehardygroup.org.
Tim JackTim Jack, Apostolic Church Australia National Leadership Team, gives good advice:

A vessel filled to fifty percent of its capacity may be described as either a ‘glass half full’ or a ‘glass half empty’. How it is described may provide an insight into the mindset of the describer. Though both see the same vessel filled to the same level, optimists may describe it one way while pessimists describe it the other. It is, of course, a simple saying that seeks to describe a mindset or an attitude.

As a simple saying, it works and remains in common usage. But, beyond the simple saying and the way it is used, though, the half full glass is an image of capacity.

The proverbial glass, whatever its size is capable of containing more. It may have been filled and its contents are being depleted by consumption or evaporation. It may have been empty and is in the process of being filled. The still image doesn’t provide sufficient information to know more than what is seen.

Wise leaders tend to function at about eighty percent of their capacity. Like long distance runners, they pace themselves knowing that they will need an occasional burst because of the demands of what they do. Integrity demands that leaders rest, take time for recreation, and time for self-replenishment. It also demands that they work well, with efficiency and effectiveness. It further demands that they know their role and work with appropriate authority, responsibility and accountability.

Sensible leaders also know that to measure their performance against that of others is unwise. This is often driven by insecurity and leads inevitably to feeling either inferior or superior to those with whom the comparison is made. These wise leaders know that the best measure of performance is against their own capacity. Leaders capable of high achievement do themselves no credit if they fail to push themselves to near their capacity.

Leaders who try to ‘sprint a marathon’, typically don’t finish the race as their reserves are spent long before the end. Jesus words, as always, are profound. ‘Work while it is day for night is coming and when it comes, no one can work anymore.’

Tim Jack’s links – timwjack@tpg.com.au / mobile: 0412 277 918
Ed Delph

Ed Delph shares another thought-provoker…

We have a real superstar driven culture right now. The results are evident to most all, except those with the superstar mentality!

I don’t want imply that just because some leaders have name recognition, status, wealth or have become popular that they are not quality people or leaders. Many of my friends in the ministry and outside of the ministry are celebrities in their own right but do not exhibit the traits below.

Leaders can have a big position in a small company or context but still exhibit superstar attitudes and behaviours. Hubris is hubris, whatever the size. My thoughts  are for our benefit… positive, not critical. Remember, those who get too big for their britches will be exposed – in the end!

This article was based on an article by my friend Joseph Mattera (http://josephmattera.org) about superstar pastors. I broadened it to include all sectors of society. Whatever the context, here are the nine reasons why some pastors develop a superstar mentality:

1. They have a sense of entitlement
Some folks think more highly of themselves than they should think and believe in their hearts that they deserve better treatment than any other human being.

2. Because of their celebrity status, they think they are above the law
When a celebrity leader gets used to having followers around them, they get used to getting what they want, when they want. Hence, they push aside boundaries and live a life that satisfies their inclinations.

3. They are unaccountable
Some leaders think that, since they are so successful, they have reached a point where no one is able to speak into their lives or teach them anything. If someone attempts to speak into their lives, they ask questions like these in their minds: Is this person as wealthy and successful as me? What school have they been too? What qualifies them to speak to me?

4. They don’t trust anyone
Many superstar pastors are really projecting a false self of confidence and aloofness. They don’t trust anyone enough to have intimate relationships, including their spouses and children.

5. Their real self-identity gets lost in their public identity
Some start off okay but eventually their success, fuelled by their driving ambition to be respected and known, becomes the primary way they view themselves. Thus, they lose their core essence and live through a false sense of success and power.

6. They become narcissistic to medicate the pain of their present or past
Many superstar leaders abuse their leadership privileges by manipulating others for their own advantage. Or, they are involved in substance abuse, adultery, excessive entertainment, frequent vacations and other lusts to medicate the pain they have from the great responsibilities, intense lifestyle, and other pressure-cooker items that make them feel trapped with no outlet. Thus, they succumb to temporary fixes that give them a reprieve from their miserable reality.

7. They erroneously equate success with favour then entitlement
Some believe that because they are adulated that it is karma or God’s favour. They are the chosen ones. The blessing on their lives validates their behaviour.

8. They only associate with other superstar leaders who reinforce their superstar culture
The old saying ‘Birds of a feather flock together’ is a truism; people tend to congregate mostly with others who believe like them and reinforce their belief systems and lifestyles. Thus they close themselves up to other realities and solutions.

9. Those closest to them don’t challenge them
Often the people with the most influence to speak to the leaders won’t. Often the lavish superstar lifestyle dulls the inner circle because of all the goodies and ‘bling’ that comes to them. When the voice of their spouse or inner circle is either ignored or silent, the people with the greatest chance of correcting the superstar won’t or don’t.

The lesson here? Learn from others mistakes. The second mouse gets the cheese.

Dr Ed Delph is president of Nationstrategy, an organisation with the strategy of envisioning and empowering today’s leaders in the church to be some of tomorrow’s leaders in the community. Links: nationstrategy@cs.com / http://www.nationstrategy.com
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Jeff ClarkeAuthor Jeff Clarke (JeffKClarke.com) challenges…

We are so desperate to have people make a decision that we rarely, if ever, tell them about the costs associated with making that decision.

Asking people to make a decision to have their sins forgiven, but spending little time calling them to become disciples, is like telling someone half a story, while leaving them to figure out the rest on their own.

Our preoccupation with getting people to make a decision is not only contrary to the biblical call to make disciples, it also short-circuits the message of the gospel and short-changes the recipient in the process.

We are so desperate to have people make a decision that we rarely, if ever, tell them about the costs associated with making that decision. And, the effects of this lopsided emphasis are obvious, with the ultimate indication being a lack of true commitment.

Ed. Note: Are you also concerned? Check out the full challenging article: http://www.sermoncentral.com/pastors-preaching-articles/jeff-clarke-why-we-need-to-seriously-reconsider-the-idea-behind-the-altar-call-2109.asp?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=scnewsletter&utm_content=SC+Update+20150212

Breaking Christian News http://www.breakingchristiannews.com/
Christianity Today http://christianitytoday.com
Church Leaders Update http://www.churchleaders.com
Dan Black On Leadership http://www.danblackonleadership.com
Ed Stetzer http://www.EdStetzer.com
Faith & Leadership http://www.faithandleadership.com
Hardy Group http://www.thehardygroup.org
Leadership Journal Newsletter http://www.christianitytoday.com
NACBA MultiBrief http://www.multibriefs.com/briefs/nacba
My Christian Daily http://www.mychristiandaily.com/
• Ron Edmondson www.mustardseedministry.com

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