I recently surveyed a number of leaders, asking what they would say are some of the biggest challenges they are facing in ministry today. One of the top three answers was the challenge of recruiting and keeping volunteers. It seems like people are either too busy or not interested in volunteering in church ministries.
While it may appear that people are busy, I believe that people are interested in giving of their time and energy, but as leaders, you have to figure out how you can best inspire your followers to want to volunteer their time and energy.
Where do you go to be completely honest with what you are feeling, thinking and going through without being judged? Who hears your heart with all its fears, joys and concerns? Who do you have who can be straight up in your face honest with you, to tell you the hard truth even when you do not want to hear it? Many of us, especially leaders, do not have such honesty and accountability in our lives. And for many, the consequences have been tragic.
Last week we looked at leading with power, not power to rule and abuse but the power of the Holy Spirit in order to lead in a godly way. Today let us focus on leading with wisdom.
Wisdom is not knowledge. Knowledge is having information; wisdom is knowing how to use information to make judicious decisions in a manner that is honoring to God and best for those the decision will affect. Following this course of action is not always easy.
James, the brother of Jesus, was careful to help us in understanding the difference between godly wisdom and the wisdom of the world. First, he described what earthly wisdom looks like.
Today we celebrate Pentecost Sunday. We are reminded of the promise made and kept by Jesus to his followers when he was on Earth with them. On more that one occasion he promised that when he left this Earth he would send the Holy Spirit to represent him and be with his followers (see Acts 1:4-5).
The presence of the Holy Spirit with us is more than a reminder of Jesus. The Spirit’s presence also means we will be empowered to do the work of God (see Luke 24:48-49).
“We don’t usually remember what people said or what they did – however we do remember how they make us feel.” – Maya Angelou
I recall while growing up I was often mindful of how the people around me made me feel. This was particularly true with adults. When some were around I felt safe and protected, while with others I felt vulnerable and afraid.
The desire to win is natural; we see this trait from the early stages of childhood.
Toddlers fight because they need to win although they do not know that is what they are doing. As adults, we continue to fight to win, but we tend to be more subtle about it now that we can rationalize why we need to win.
Whether vying for a toy, a position, a desired outcome, or just being right, we want to come out on top. We want to win.
Leaders lead from their experience and knowledge, which makes leadership both an art and a science. Many leaders are excellent with the science of leadership. They are familiar with the latest trends, models and research in leadership. They also know how to teach the science of leadership. However, where they often struggle is in the art of leadership.
The art of leadership is the part that is shaped and influenced by experience. One aspect of the experience that influences leadership is the wounds the leader has experienced in life.
We all have been wounded in life and will be again as long as we are in relationships. Whether or not we are aware of it or admit it, those wounds will influence how we relate to others.
All leaders want to know that those they are leading are actually following. Leaders struggle when they think people are following, and in reality, they are not.
In some cases, people may be following because of a paycheck. Others may appear to be following while pursuing their own agenda, such as waiting for the leader to fail so they can take their place. Others may follow out of shared loyalty; they feel they owe the leader for being good to them sometime in the past.
Whatever the reason there is nothing more disheartening for leaders than to think they have followers when in reality they do not.
Without a doubt we live in a fast paced, crazy-busy world today. So how do you slow down from crazy to casual?
The word casual is rarely used to describe life – except for how we dress. Occasionally, my wife will invite me to attend a work-related function with her and I will ask how I should dress; the reply usually comes back, “casual.”
One of the biggest challenges of leadership is implementing change. Truth told, implementing change is a challenge for most people.
More than 600,000 people die each year from heart disease1. And yet, of people diagnosed with heart disease and told by their doctors they must change their lifestyle or die, only 10 percent have changed their lifestyle in the subsequent two-year period.
Change is so difficult that people often chose death over change.