Athens, at that time, was a centre for religious and philosophical diversity. A centre of major international connections, Athens was a place where ideas were shared, philosophies were promoted and religion flourished. Paul found there the worst combination of ingredients – passion and error – much devotion and little truth. No wonder he was ‘deeply troubled’ by the idolatry he saw everywhere in the city (Acts 17.16).
Luke’s narrative makes it clear that Paul’s life was dedicated to a missionary purpose. From the time he was commissioned, his life call was to:
• Plant a local church in each place he visited
• Birth it in truth
• Invest it with missionary purpose
• Frame it as part of the gift of God to humankind.
This was his mission and his legacy.
Today good dedicated leaders are like Paul – ‘deeply troubled’
Our world is not unlike the world Paul lived in inasmuch as the diversity of philosophy and religious expression is concerned.
Like the Athens of Paul’s day, every community now lies at the crossroads where information passes through, shaping the minds and worlds of any who are open to its influence.
Paul’s ‘deep trouble’ came from his missionary and shepherd heart. So immersed in truth was he that error offended him. He was so aligned with God’s truths that exposure to ungodly things caused him grave concern.
Sadly some leaders, unlike Paul, are not troubled by what they see and hear. Good leaders are troubled and, like Paul, understand the power that ideas and words have, that truth embraced can save and restore and that error – like truth rejected – leads to separation.
Leaders, like Paul, place themselves in a position where they know what is passing through the marketplace of thought and word and, like the great apostle, want to reach out to people, endorsing the good and exposing error.
Tim Jack is an active National Leadership Team member, Apostolic Church Australia. Links: email@example.com / mobile: 0412 277 918
HAS YOUR MINISTRY SEEN SOME PLATEAUS?
Dick Hardy, pastoral leadership consultant, challenges:
One of the biggest challenges for all leaders is the need to regularly push themselves to lead better through continual development.
Developing personally and developing your team of staff and volunteers is one of the most important things a leader should do, and yet so many people don’t take the time or have a development strategy they follow. Consequently, they experience plateaus…
Simply by watching our brand new, three-part video series you’re going to be a better leader, and you’re going to have time and the proper plan to develop your staff and volunteers. Through these things you’re going to make a greater impact and have more influence.
In essence, we’re going to give you a game plan for growth without adding a ton more to your already busy schedule – both for you and your team. We believe if you and your team grow and become better, then your church will be better and everyone wins!
Included throughout this video series is an interview I had with John Lindell, lead pastor of James River Church, Springfield, Missouri and some of the church’s behind-the-scenes of how they develop their leaders. You’ll find it very insightful!
Give us your feedback. We’d love to hear from you! And stick with us through the entire series because we have some really cool things to show you.
In this first video I’m going to share with you some counter-intuitive insight that will help you be a much better leader.
Whether a pastor or volunteer, if you are serious about forging ahead as an individual and with your team, you need to watch this video.
Incidentally… Why would any leader want to stay stuck? I sure do not. This video will help you. Most people go through their ministry life with no strategy for personal growth as a leader, and time to develop their staff and volunteers always gets squeezed by ‘more important things.”’
Don’t let that happen to you. You can lead better today…
Link to other resources – https://thehardygroup.org/services/join-the-network/
Recommended – Dick Hardy’s Right Turns – Link: firstname.lastname@example.org.
ALL FOCUS BUT VERY LITTLE AWARENESS
Ed Delph with humour shares another great principle…
Here’s something that you will amaze you. The following are actual complaints received by Thomas Cook Vacations from some of their customers.
• ‘When we were in Spain, there were too many Spanish people there. The receptionist spoke Spanish, the food was Spanish. No one told us there would be so many foreigners.’
• ‘The beach was too sandy. We had to clean everything when we returned to our room.’
• ‘It’s lazy of the local shopkeepers in Puerto Vallarta to close in the afternoons. I often needed to buy things during siesta time. This should be banned.’
• ‘No one told us there would be fish in the water. The children were scared.’
• ‘I was bitten by a mosquito. The brochure did not mention mosquitoes.’
• ‘It is your duty as a tour operator to advise us of noisy or unruly guests before we travel.’
• ‘It took us nine hours to fly from Jamaica to England. It took the Americans only three hours to get home. This seems unfair.’
• ‘I compared the size of our one-bedroom suite to our friend’s three room bedroom suite and ours was significantly smaller.’
• ‘My fiancée and I requested twin beds when we booked, but instead we were placed in a room with a king bed. We hold you responsible and want to be reimbursed for the fact that I became pregnant. This would not have happened if you had put us in the room that we booked.’
You might be thinking, ‘These people walk among us and they vote!’
Did you notice all the pronouns in these complaints? The complaints had wording such as…
• I was disgusted
• no one told us
• we had to wait
• I was bitten
• our room
• we hold you responsible
• we want reimbursement
• we had to fly longer.
These pronouns gravitate around ‘me, myself, and I.’
What is going on here? Are these people crazy or completely self-absorbed? No, I would say many of these people are great people. Most people are!
But many of these people have a modern day phenomenon of what I call, ‘All Focus – Very Limited Awareness.’ Intentionally or unintentionally, ‘their’ world becomes ‘the’ world. They expect everyone else to conform to their world while ignoring everyone else’s world. While they would say they are aware, they are only aware of what is relevant to them and their not aware of it.
Focus and awareness
Let’s explore focus and awareness.
• Focus is simply doing those things that need to be done now, and doing them correctly.
• Awareness is a broader focus, if you will, on those things that might affect what we are trying to do.
• Living real life requires both. If you are going to India and don’t like curry, you had better be aware of it.
An example of all focus and very limited awareness in real life: In the Korean War General Douglas MacArthur had just completed the destruction of the North Korean army in one of the most brilliant campaigns in American military history. His focus was winning the war in Korea and he had done that.
He neglected, however, to consider that two hundred thousand Chinese were just across the Yalu River and that the Chinese were taking serious exception to his focused plan. He knew they were there but he either was not or refused to be aware that they might jump him. Well, they jumped him, and MacArthur and the rest of the United States forces in Korea had a very nasty time for the next few months because of his lack of awareness.
Jesus and awareness
Jesus came to bring us awareness of the reality of God, the spiritual realm, heaven, and how to enter God’s kingdom.
And that’s something that us ‘All Focus…Very Limited Awareness’ people could use some awareness of.
Especially church leaders!
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: email@example.com / http://www.nationstrategy.com
WHY ON EARTH AM I HERE?
Have you ever wondered why you’re at a specific job, living in a particular place, how you ended up married to a certain person or even why on earth you’re here? If you’ve ever had questions like these and didn’t have the answer, maybe it’s because the Lord was directing your steps.
Sometimes, it’s only by looking back years later that the answer is revealed to us. Other times, we experience an ‘Aha’ moment.
In 1971, when I enrolled in college, my plans were to pursue a degree in elementary education. When I sat down to discuss classes with my assigned advisor, he said, ‘You’re going to have a difficult time finding a job after graduation because there are too many elementary education majors.’
His statement led me to change my major to secondary education with an emphasis in English, my favourite high school class. While I’d never taken a journalism class, I decided to enroll in one the first semester as an elective. I loved it and eventually changed my major to journalism education with a minor in English.
After teaching for several years at the high school level, I came to realise it was God’s plan all along. Although I’ve been retired from education for 10 years, I still stay in touch with, and am able to minister to, many of my former students.
Ministry ‘Aha scars’
Recently, a friend shared with me about her sister’s ‘Aha’ moment when God revealed to her why she was at a particular job. Webster’s dictionary defines an ‘Aha’ moment as a moment of sudden realisation, inspiration, insight, recognition, or comprehension.
My friend’s sister had been questioning why she was there until she was led to minister to a fellow employee who was distressed about a family member’s pending incarceration. My friend’s sister could relate because she, too, has a family member who is incarcerated.
Pastor Adrian Rogers says, ‘Indeed, your scars may be your greatest ministry. Just as the scars of Jesus convinced Thomas, perhaps your scars will convince someone today.’
Letting God direct our steps
As Christians (leaders too) we sometimes question our calling.
However, our first calling is to know Jesus. How can we know him better? He calls us into an intimate relationship with him, meaning we need to spend quality time getting to know him through reading and studying scripture, praying and meditating on his word, sharing fellowship with other believers and becoming his ambassadors.
In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus says, ‘Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you.’
This scripture reveals our true calling, answering the question, ‘Why on earth am I here?’
Author C S Lewis wrote, ‘In Gethsemane the holiest of all petitioners prayed three times that a certain cup might pass from him. It did not.’
If Jesus understood God’s plan for his life, shouldn’t it be our goal to let God direct our steps also?
Carol Round follows her passion of using her writing and speaking abilities to inspire others. Recommended: Journaling with Jesus: How to draw closer to God and Nana’s 3 Jars: Giving Generously. Links: http://www.amazon.ca/Nanas-3-Jars-Giving-Generously/dp/0692280197 / firstname.lastname@example.org/ www.carolaround.com