Four Leadership Essentials

As a leader, it is important to have a lens to view your leadership through. This way, your decisions and actions can be filtered and evaluated as useful or not, in alignment with your values or not, and appropriate for your context or not. There are a multitude of models out there, some more complex than others. For me, simplicity allows me flexibility and adaptability, things that I value. For your consideration, here are my four E’s of leadership. My leadership should… Encourage Sometimes the people we lead need to me reminded why we value them in the position they occupy. Encouragement can be simple reminders of the skills they bring to the team. It can also take the form of celebrating wins, both small and large. As leaders, we need to remember that our encouragement adds energy to the roles and activities of those under us. It is also important to remember that the lives of those we lead are bigger than the role they play in our organizations. Questions for your leadership – How do you celebrate wins and progress? How often do you do this? How often to you check in on your people’s lives outside the organization? How safe do your people feel to answer your questions honestly? Empower Empowering others to lead or perform their tasks means giving them the space to operate. Recognizing that others will not do things the way that you would. Giving others space to fail (not out of incompetence), evaluate, and refocus. Empowering is felt as trust by those you lead. The nemesis of an empowering leader is an anxious...

Reconsidering the 80/20

There is a common rule of thumb in business, economics, and science called the Pareto Principle. Simply put, the Pareto Principle states that for many events, around 80% of effects come from close to 20% of causes. In church world, this principle is commonly cited in context that 80% of church volunteer work is done by 20% of church attenders. Having worked in church involvement for 15 years, I can attest that this rule of thumb tends to provide a good approximation (but not a limit). Claiming that rule of thumb is seen as a way to motivate those who are not involved to join the active 20%. The problem with this claim is the assumption that the involved 20% are the people growing in spiritual maturity. Church involvement does not necessarily indicate a maturing Christ follower. Increasing involvement does not necessarily indicate a mature Christian leader. Many of the 20% are involved because they are seeking the affirmation of their church leader(s). Many of the 80% are serving in their workplace or external ministries and doing their works unnoticed by their church leadership. Involvement problems are related to identity problems. Are your volunteers burning out? Maybe people are trying to find a sense of worth. Are people being invited into a task or into the gospel? Tasks require servitude, the gospel urges gratitude. Who are they serving? Not all the problems are with the people you want to volunteer. Are more volunteers to feed the identity of the leader? How are you nurturing the spiritual lives of those who are involved? Are people serving outside the church because the church’s...

A Church Afraid of Brokenness

There has been controversy surrounding a large, corporate, mega-church in the news. I first became aware of it upon seeing this tweet in my timeline: Churches make mistakes & those mistakes can deeply hurt people. It's great to see a church owning up to her mistakes. http://t.co/6HmgKMvJrU — Luke Norsworthy (@lukenorsworthy) May 29, 2015 Curious, I read a few articles to catch up. If you are not familiar with what has been happening at The Village Church and want to be simply Google “the village church apology” and you too can get caught up. But doing that is not necessary for where this post is going. So I replies with a tweet of my own (please excuse my typos): @lukenorsworthy @CTmagazine it would have been even better to see a church on up to its before being called out in the national media. — Scott Perkins (@theperkster) May 29, 2015 It indeed would have been a breath of fresh air to see a church own up to its mistakes before they became a national issue. But that seems to be the business-like environment prominent in our church culture. Jesus is the product to be sold. In order to show the product works, there needs to be more and more ‘fixed’ people. This in turn creates a church that does not know what to do with the reality of brokenness. We are broken image bearers of our Creator. While we are being sanctified in Christ our old nature and new nature do battle (see Gal 5:17). One of our most beloved hymns declares this truth… Prone to wander, Lord, I feel...

What Comparison Does

Not too long ago, I had the pleasure of getting to know one of my volunteer leaders. She was telling me of the hobby of water color painting that she had taken up in the last couple years. As she talked about her art and how she gave her work to special people as a gift of herself, her face lit up with pure enjoyment. It was special to watch. Within our conversation, I asked her about the learning process. Among the first things she mentioned was the frustration she would feel having completed a project. Her flowers never looked the way they should. Her scenes did not turn out right. It took the repeated, trusted advise of her teacher to come to realize that she saw things, and painted things, differently. And that was OK. Comparison destroys freedom. In art, the freedom comparison destroys is creativity. In the spiritual life, comparison destroys the freedom to become who God intends for you to be. To run the race set before you. One of the ways the Bible refers to comparison is to covet. Coveting usurps our freedom. When we covet, we become slaves to what we do not have. That new car. Free time. A different body. More kids. A spouse. Popularity. A larger church or ministry. Vacation. We miss the work that God is doing in our lives, the path He has us on, because we are too busy comparing ourselves with others. Elsewhere in the Bible comparison is seen as judging. Humorously illustrated by the person who tries to take a sliver of wood out of someone’s eye...

The Empty Inner Circle

I help church leaders avoid the pitfalls of spiritual leadership. Overwhelmingly, pastors feel isolated, overworked, unappreciated, and consumed by their role in the church.The quality of our inner circle relationships is a key foundation for successfully enduring the unique rigors of church leadership and pastoring. We need connection. An outlet. Support and comfort. Sadly, by the time all was said and done with regard to the collapse of my world, my inner circle was completely empty and that hastened the fall.Some of the emptying was done for me. My wife and I had no connection. She had distanced herself from me and I had stopped trying. The person in the world that I would want to describe as my best friend, my supporter through thick and thin, was instead the person that I felt the most distance with. Rather than being able to offer support and guidance through the crests and troughs of ministry, my sharing sounded more and more like whining filling her with bitterness and resentment toward my job. This resentment was compounded by the fact that it was to my job that I turned more and more of my attention as the distance between us became greater.Most of the empty inner circle was because of me. Pride is my root sin. In my relationships that expresses itself as a fear of rejection. A fear that if someone knew the real me, my real struggles, the real condition of parts of my life then they would certainly reject me. So I wore my “I’m fine” mask. Acted like everything was great all the time. If questions were...

Gain Perspective. Live Well.

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