14-Point Check Up for Mistakes That Will Hurt Your Leadership

By: Dan Reiland

I just completed my annual physical.

Going through the process of a thorough check-up from head to toe is not much fun, but it’s a smart thing to do. My doctor is excellent and very thorough. He starts with my vital signs, does extensive blood work, and then checks for things that might indicate a health issue.

It’s a good idea to do the same thing as a leader. It’s best to focus on the positive things that will strengthen your leadership, but it’s also smart to check your habits against a list of things that could hurt you over the long-haul. 

Leadership isn’t easy, but it’s one of the most rewarding endeavors imaginable. Leadership is more art than science, more fluid than structured, and more messy than clean. Therefore, any help we can get for a quick check-up is helpful.

That’s what I’ve written for you here. I could probably list 25 things, but these 14 are at the top and a good place to start.

  • Which ones are you doing well?
  • Which ones need improvement?
  • How about the leader’s you coach?

You can take them through this as a developmental tool. Let them evaluate themselves, and then you ask questions that lead to offering insights and ideas to help them get better.

14-Point Leadership Check Up:

(These things will hurt your leadership if you do them repeatedly over time).

  1. Thinking Small

Negative thoughts, feeling hand-cuffed or unempowered, and avoiding risk are all forms of small thinking.  There are so many competing agendas, voices that must be heard, and seemingly non-negotiable expectations that when mixed with limited resources and finite energy it’s easy to fall prey to small thinking.

I sometimes catch myself praying big but then leading small, that only happens when I think small. The same can be true for you. Pray big, think big, lead large.

  • In what area or circumstance are you most tempted to think small?

 

2. Jumping to Conclusions

Fast is the new normal, and too fast can get you in trouble. There is always another side to the story. Always. Take time to get the facts. Sometimes just (literally) counting to five before you say something, or press send can keep you out of hot water. In other situations, a few days may be required.

If someone pushes your buttons, don’t over-react. Instead, when you feel your temperature rising, intentionally power down a notch. It’s much easier to respond with wisdom when your foot is not in your mouth. 

  • Do you consistently take the time to hear the other side of the story?
  • Can you resist speaking or reacting too quickly?
  • Do you find yourself interrupting others when they are talking?

 

3.  Resisting Change

You know that resisting change is a poor use of your time and energy both personally and professionally. If you don’t change, you can’t grow. And if you don’t innovate your ministries to keep up with the changes in culture, your ministry will get stuck.

 

  • What’s the last personal change you made and successfully adapted to?
  • What was your most recent change in how you operate a particular ministry?

 

4. Avoiding Risk

It is possible to avoid risk, but you can’t lead and escape risk at the same time. It’s impossible to cast vision and make progress without taking some risks. It might be a big project or a tough conversation. You don’t need to take a foolish blind leap of faith, but you’ll never fully know the future; therefore, risk is required. Pray, trust God, plan, and lead!

 

  • Is there any risk you are avoiding?
  • What is the current risk you’re taking?

 

*In our next post we will publish the second part of this article where Pastor Reiland will detail other important aspects that should be taken care of in relation to leadership.

Jesus Is Not The Solution

https://iamchrisgilmore.com/2019/08/05/jesus-is-not-the-solution/

Whenever we face despair in our country one of the most common refrains is, “People just need Jesus.”

My friends, I have bad news – Jesus is not the solution.

At least not the Jesus most of us mean.

The Jesus who is a neat little add on to our lives. The one we keep close in case we find ourselves in trouble or need reassurance that we are good people.

The Jesus who is only after mental agreement that he is God and asks little from us in return (besides inviting people to church and trying to cuss less).

This Jesus allows us to occupy pews with prejudiced hearts and systems unchecked. This Jesus allows us to pray “Thy Kingdom come” without considering the implications.

This Jesus allows us to imagine we are faithful disciples while doing most of our learning from cable news. This Jesus will make your life better if you simply pray at an altar or raise a hand with all heads bowed. This Jesus is easy.

This Jesus fits comfortably next to the gods of power and wealth and upward mobility. This Jesus doesn’t mind sharing space because this Jesus is enamored by those things too.

This Jesus allows us to harbor hate and bitterness. This Jesus allows us to distance ourselves from the world and feel good about it.

This Jesus surely didn’t mean love our enemies and turn the other check, because this Jesus is reasonable and really only wants us to be happy and healthy and make it to heaven some bright morning.

This Jesus has been invited into the hearts of slave owners, rapists, abusers, power hungry preachers, white supremacists, idolaters, war mongers, and the like and done nothing but help them feel more holy in their un-Christlikeness.

He is little more than a prop on the campaign trail and a get out of hell card should this whole thing turn out to be true.

This Jesus is powerless. And a fraud.

But there is a different Jesus.

One who is not beholden to the American dream. One who does not bend like a reed when politicians ask us to change our convictions for the promise of power. One who does not ask too little of us.

This Jesus is Lord.

This Jesus throws out the charlatans and calls the religious folk “white-washed graves.” They have the right hymns and sound bites and bumper stickers, but nothing of life and love on the inside.

This Jesus will not allow us to sit complacent. This Jesus will not allow us to settle for platitudes. This Jesus doesn’t want to just make you into a nicer version of yourself.

This Jesus will not tolerate our prejudices or violent words or the space we make for other gods. This Jesus demands we repent and turn from all things that look like death and destruction.

Even when we enjoy them. Or we want them. Or sell our souls to justify them.

This Jesus instructs us to love our neighbors, to welcome the outcast, to care for the sick, and imprisoned. This Jesus is less concerned about borders and budgets and security and constitutional amendments than we’d like to think.

This Jesus will call into question all our allegiances. To self, to family, to politicians, to country.

This Jesus is not safe. He will disrupt everything. He will put us at odds with people who follow the other Jesus and the kingdoms of the world. There will be hurt and pain and ulcers. He told us this. That following him would bring division because following him turns it all upside down.

This Jesus said, “If you want to follow me be ready to go to the death.” The other Jesus convinces us this was only hyperbole and we can go on living just the way we like.

But the true Jesus, the one from Nazareth, the one crucified under Roman rule and resurrected from the dead, he is Lord. And he is the only Jesus worth knowing.

This Jesus and all the disruption and difficulty and hard reflection that he demands is worth it. With this Jesus we find that this is the only way to truly live.

With this Jesus we find change and transformation for ourselves and the whole broken world. With this Jesus we find there is another Kingdom where the last are first and the greatest are servants and that even death leads to victory.

This Jesus pushes us outside of our walls and comfort zones and partisan talking points and air conditioned answers and confronts us with what is real and true and right and good. This Jesus changes minds and votes and spending behavior and addictions and priorities and conversations and attitudes and neighborhoods.

May we know this Jesus. May we follow him.

May we allow this Jesus full access to all our biases and comforts and brokenness to do with as he pleases. May he do his best work in places we don’t even realize need work.

May we put to death the false Jesus that has for too long masqueraded in our sanctuaries and rocked us to sleep.  May we put away apathy and comfort.  May we turn from the gods of power and wealth and personal success in order to fully and loudly proclaim, that Jesus is Lord.

And may this change the world.

A Testimony from Dr. Brent Hulett

A few months ago I had the privilege of meeting our new head of Mobilization for Global Missions in our denomination, Dr. Brent Hulett.  Officially his title is: Coordinator of Engaging and Equipping for the Church of the Nazarene.  He has taken the time to share his testimony and challenge us in the following video.  I hope that this helps you to know him a bit more, but I also would encourage you to share this link with anyone who wants to know more about missions.

I thank God for Brent and other leaders who are guiding us in this vision of engaging and equipping our churches around the world.

 

Joan Chittister: Reflections on the Importance of the Christian calendar

anillos-del-árbolWe begin the Christian calendar with Advent.  From my perspective, no one expresses the meaning of this reality better perhaps than Joan Chittister en her book, The Liturgical Year: The Spiraling Adventure of the Spiritual Life.

Every year is a distinct growth point in life, the shedding of another shell of life.  Each year brings something unique to us and calls for something different from us…

The church year begins on the first Sunday of Advent, which normally begins in late November…The liturgical year is an adventure in bringing the Christian life to fullness, the heart to alert, the soul to focus.

The civic new year as we know it is a purely solar event, a chart of the planet’s journey around the sun.  But it is not, except in the most private and personal of ways, the story of the rest of us, the narrative of our spiritual lives.  That story begins and ends and begins again annually with the journey of the soul through the liturgical year, the year that marks the major moments in Christian spirituality and so points our own lives in the same direction.

The liturgical year is the year that sets out to attune the life of the Christian to the life of Jesus, the Christ.  It proposes, year after year, to immerse us over and over again into the sense and substance of the Christian life until, eventually, we become what we say we are – followers of Jesus all the way to the heart of God.  The liturgical year is an adventure in human growth, an exercise in spiritual ripening.

I know now that it is possible to grow physically older by the day but, at the same time, stay spiritually juvenile, if our lives are not directed by a schema far beyond the march of our planet around the sun.  Like the rings on a tree, the cycles of Christian feasts are meant to mark the levels of our spiritual growth from one stage to another in the process of human growth.

If we are open and alert to the Christian calendar, it will lead us higher and higher into the One who beckons us on through time to that moment when we will dissolve into God, set free from time to become one with the universe.