The Lenten season serves to remind us of many things, including our humanity (really, our mortality!) and our dependence on God. For most of us though, we have the tendency to first rely on our humanity and only turn to God when we have exhausted our human options.
The story of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness (Matt.4: Lk.4) is a good reminder to us that if we are going to have the victory over any temptation, we must learn to rely on God more than we rely on our own strength and resources.
Well, it’s that time again when we start thinking about what we are either going to give up or add to our lives for the next 40 days. For many, the Lenten season is a time of reflection and making life adjustments.
In thinking about the Lenten season, two words come to mind: grace and judgment. These two words are central to this season. Because amazing grace was shown to us through the suffering and death of God’s Son, Jesus, we may stand in the Day of Judgment and not be condemned for our sins.
Today we presented our first official deputation service as we continue following God’s leading to South Africa. We are still trying to get our heads around the idea that God has opened the door for us to serve in the same institution He had called us to some 27 years ago. Although we did not make it to Nazarene Theological College South Africa (NTC-SA) back in 1991, here we are 27-plus years later, coming full circle to fulfill the call. At least we came in under Moses’ record by 13 years. It only took him 40 years before he was ready to answer the call to do a task that was way beyond anything he could have done on his own.
One thing is certain of every leader, you are always influencing those you lead. In other words, you have no control over who you influence, but you can certainly determine what your influence will be. It could either be negative, demeaning, controlling, and abusive or it can be positive, uplifting, respectful and valuing.
Let us look at some key factors that are necessary to have the kind of influence that will motivate your followers to do their best work.
The Carrims believe that good listening will be essential in building the relationships needed to help the Nazarene Theological College South Africa thrive. They were assigned to lead the college Jan. 1 and will move there in April.
A few days ago, we arrived in South Africa to spend two weeks getting to know a bit about the people we will soon be living and working with. We recognize that the most essential communication skill, and one we will have to use extensively, is the skill of good listening. Listening is indispensable to good leadership. People who are genuinely listened to will feel valued, respected, and heard. And nearly always, people will trust you when they know you are truly listening to them.
Students pictured on the Nazarene Theological College campus, set in foothills on 44 acres of park-like grounds, just northwest of Johannesburg.
Happy New Year to you, your family and those you lead. Welcome to 2019. I hope you are looking forward with excitement and promise for where 2019 will take you. God has been good to us and He has led us this far. I am certain God will continue to lead as we make our lives available.
In 2019, my family and I begin a major transition as we obediently follow God’s leading into a new phase of life. As of Jan. 1, Rhonda and I are employed by the Global Missions Department of our denomination (Church of the Nazarene), and we will be moving from Nampa, Idaho, to Johannesburg, South Africa, where Rhonda will serve as principal of Nazarene Theological College South Africa. As for me, well, we are not sure what my role will look like yet – that is for the principal to decide!
A popular trend with churches is to conduct off-site meetings with their staff. This is usually a time when the staff gathers somewhere away from the physical location of where they work to focus on long-term planning, review how current plans are going, and give attention to mission, vision, strategy and team building.
The question is, how effective are these off-site meetings? Does the team come away motivated, challenged, and clear on what they are doing, why they are doing it and who is doing what? If at the end of the time away all that happened was meeting after meeting with some socializing in between, then the off-site was not a success.
“Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.” – Viktor E. Frankl
How do you respond when life treats you unfairly? What do you do when you are hurt by someone you love and trust? How do you respond when things are done to you by powers beyond your control? We all have stories of pain and disappointment. The question is how do you handle your pain and disappointment?
Warning signs are everywhere: on medication bottles, road signs, plastic wrapping and cartons. We find them on electrical appliances, and coffee cups from convenience stores and fast food joints. Warning signs are all around, and if we ignore them the consequences can be great. We may recover from some consequences; but others allow no recovery.
For example, if you ignore the warning sign of the stop light and go when it is not your turn, you may end up in a simple fender bender with repairs easily made. Or, you might end up with serious bodily injuries from which you never fully recover. Worse yet, life may be lost by ignoring the stop light.
The sad reality is that many of us ignore warning signs until it’s too late. This does not have to be the case. We can pay better attention.
In the world of organizational performance in which organizations measure themselves by results, the Church stands apart in a significant way from all other groups. At the same time, the Church continues to incorporate organizational skills used by secular organizations, many of which have been helpful in assisting the Church to do great things in spreading the good news of the Gospel.
Many larger churches have taken on the management structure of corporations with the lead pastor and numerous supporting staff mirroring corporate CEOs and managers or vice presidents. Organizational structures which help churches operate effectively reflect good stewardship of resources.