Archive for the ‘leadership’ Category

The Fear Every Leader Battles With

Posted: October 23, 2011 in leadership

It’s the fear I have to beat back with a stick every day. I mean every day.

If I let this fear take hold I would attempt nothing, risk nothing, have nothing.

It’s the fear of failure……….and I’ve never met a leader who hasn’t looked it in the eye.

Here’s a personal example in my life: This weekend our church kicked off a two weekend push to invite guests to our church to hear the gospel. The two fears I battled with: 1. What if people don’t come? 2. What if they don’t respond?

Turns out people did come and people did respond.

I was still left with the question, where does this junk come from? Answer: It comes from a deeper insecurity; the fear of failure.

If I could put a mic in my mind this is what you might hear : “If people don’t invite people, what does that say about my leadership? If people don’t respond to the gospel when I preach, what does that say about my preaching? Can I even do this?”

My thinking becomes dominated by the word “if”. Now, that’s not always a bad thing. The word “if”  is a powerful.  It’s all about potential. But, when I’m walking in the fear of failure my “if” is fixated on the potential of failure. When I am walking in faith, the “if’s” turn in to seeing the God potential in my leadership.

Notice another theme throughout my mind conversation, the word “I”.  This is pride. Most of the time this fear is less about the mission failing and more about me looking like a failure. “What will people think of me if this doesn’t work?”.

If we let the fear of failure run rampant in our lives we’ll end up not trying or risking anything. Our motto will end up being, “Never try, never fail.” We might not ever have to deal with the pain of failure, but we’ll end up suffocating the growth in ourselves and others we lead. That is failure.

So what’s the remedy?  On a daily basis I have to drag my pride and worry to the cross and nail it there. God has called me to do the right things for the right reasons and leave the results up to Him.

What about you? What are some areas in your life that you wrestle with the fear of failure. Take a moment and share below.

There are a ton of reasons you should pick up and walk away from your commitment to your church family. I’ve narrowed it down to the top 5. Be on the look out for these signs….if you see them get out!

1. Someone offended you.  At any point that you feel your feelings are hurt you should leave. Make sure you look for the subtle signs that people don’t like you: someone walking by and not saying “hi”, not being invited along with a group, not being thanked for something you did, a point in a sermon that made you feel uncomfortable, someone doesn’t notice that you weren’t at church because of the other hundreds of people in the room. If you’re offended it must be a good enough reason to leave. Go with that emotion.

2. You don’t “feel” like you’re being fed. This is really important. You need to purposely forget that your pastor is moving a large group of people from across a wide spectrum in their faith experience to maturity. Make an effort to avoid other discipleship opportunities like Life Groups and classes. It’s completely understandable that you would blame your pastor for your lack of discipline in feeding yourself the Word during the week. Make it a point to have a view that it’s really all about you instead of investing in helping others around you grow.

3. Your Son or Daughter isn’t happy there. In today’s child centered world this makes sense to leave your church if you’re child says they don’t want to go. What’s great about this one is it gives you an opportunity to model for your kids what you should do when something is not done your way: leave. Besides your child must know best….I mean they are the child. Whatever you do don’t teach them to adapt, appreciate the differences in others or model ongoing faithfulness. Get out before they plant roots.

4. Your area of passion is not being promoted enough. If the leadership team at your church doesn’t promote your area of involvement you should find the nearest exit sign. It’s obvious that the reason the pastor is refusing to do this is because he doesn’t like you and not because he has a million other important plates that need to be spun. Here is your chance to read sign #1 and be offended.

5. You made a mistake and a leader brings accountability. When you committed to follow the pastoral leaders of your church you certainly didn’t mean you wanted them to help you grow by holding you accountable. Who needs to submit? Not you! Don’t be sharpened by the experience or walk through restoration. Why should you when there’s another church down the street that doesn’t know anything about your issues and will welcome you with open arms.

(Important Note: If you decide to hit the door because of these valid reasons, make sure you share your reasons with as many people as possible. What’s better than leaving your church? Answer: Taking People with you!)

What about you? Have any other signs of when you should leave your church? Please share below.

The Last 10%…..2.0

Posted: August 24, 2011 in leadership

Many authors have written about the need for leaders to create an environment where the last 10% (saying the difficult truth) is said by them and those around them. A couple of years ago I wrote about sharing and hearing the last 10% here.  I’ve continually pushed this with my core leadership team here at RCC. Healthy leaders’ welcome honest–objective feedback—they don’t hide from it.

I’ve noticed however for many the last 10% seems to be just criticism. It can vary from being constructive to destructive.  However, the last 10% principle should not be characterized as just sharing the negative; it should be defined as sharing what is most valuable.

Sometimes it’s a hard truth that the other person doesn’t want to hear. At other times the last 10% could be an emotionally difficult thought that needs to be said, but feels impossible to convey. I don’t know how many people I’ve heard share the last 10% about a loved one at a funeral only to regret they had not shared this with them while they were still alive.

What Makes the Last 10% Principal effective?

Answer: Truly valuing the person you’re sharing the last 10% with. When you go into a last 10% conversation with someone with a genuine love for the person–that’s going to come through in how you communicate with them. Most people can hear the last 10% when given in love. It’s not enough to be right, leaders need to be effective. 

What about you? Any tips to offer when sharing the last 10%? Share the last 10% below.

The 5 Levels of Leadership

Posted: August 24, 2011 in leadership

Have you ever asked yourself what makes someone follow a leader? In fact, let’s try something. Ask yourself why you follow the people in your life that are leaders? It could be your manager, parent, teacher, pastor…..anyone you consider a leader? What makes you follow them? In John Maxwell’s soon to be released book, The 5 Levels of Leadership  Maxwell shares the five motivations for followers:

If you’re a leader ask yourself why those that are following you follow you? I’d love to hear your thoughts below.

Here is a leadership lesson I learned recently: 

There are times when leading that you’ll feel like someone on your team is not on the same page and is not in full support of your leadership. A good leader’s first inclination should be to go to the person and in a loving way approach them and see how they’re doing with your leadership. I did this recently, and the person responded that they were fine. A few weeks went by and I continued to feel the person was still in limbo with their support. I again, approached them to see if there was anything that was bothering them, again, I was assured they were in full support.

Here’s what I took from this:

1. People have different personalities. People show and communicate their support in different ways.

2. Take someone’s word at face value unless their actions speak otherwise.

3. Other issues in the team member’s life might be contributing to their demeanor.

4. Don’t let your personal insecurities cause mistrust of your team. Continuing to approach someone about the status of their support comes off as desperate and is demoralizing to them.

What leadership insecurities do you battle with?

Have you ever had a difficult time ending something? It could have been moving past a dream, a relationship, an employee that wasn’t contributing, a strategy or program that wasn’t working, a way you’ve always done something. This last month I started our Elder board on a journey through a book by Dr. Henry Cloud, “Necessary Endings”. In it Cloud discusses some of the obstacles that keep us from “ending” these things in our lives. Sometimes it’s because we don’t want to face reality, maybe we don’t want to admit defeat or maybe it’s just because we don’t know how. Cloud points to pruning in a garden as an example of what happens when we don’t prune the things in our life or organization. These situations end up draining energy and resources that are needed else where so there can be thriving growth.  For a Christ follower Jesus is the vine and He points to the “Vine Dresser” our heavenly father who desires to “prune” what is not helpful or necessary in our lives or in the life of a church.

As a pastor I’ve seen churches be so in love with their strategy that they could not “end” it when it was clear that it was not working. Pastor and author, Andy Stanley, states that “we should be in love with our vision but only infatuated with our method. I don’t want to be that leader that can’t see when something needs to end.

I’ve asked our elders to go on a journey with me over the next few months to pray and think through any areas that might need to be “ended”in our lives personally or in our church so that we can thrive.

What about you? What areas in your life are you holding onto that just need to be ended? A friendship, relationship, an employee that does more harm than good, a dream, a goal, a strategy? My prayer is that God would give us the courage to do what’s needed.

Pruning is painful, but necessary,


Most pastors I know are very likable guys. Not to say there aren’t some out there, but most people that go into pastoral ministry are not jerks. In fact, many pastors that step into ministry struggle with the “Please Like Me” disease. They’re in ministry because they love God and love people. They also enjoy being loved back.

Here is the rub: To pastor is to lead and that means decisions sometimes have to be made that people will not like. I use to struggle dramatically with people being upset about the leadership decisions I made. Sleepless nights would ensue, upset stomach, short tempered. Unable to focus on further leadership tasks, I was stopped dead in my tracks. As it turned out it was not about them not liking my decisions as much as it was my reaction to my perception of them not liking me. I was taking it personal.

Even if someone hates your decision because they just don’t like you, it’s not personal. It is their issue. You cannot control someone’s emotions or reactions. You cannot make someone like you. Don’t waste your time trying to get people on the bus that don’t want to go on the trip.

Bottom line: 10% will be hardcore “You” fans, 10% Will just not like you, and 80% will be “Fine” with you. 

When we stop making difficult decisions so that we’ll be adored, we in essence are not serving Jesus any more. We’re serving ourselves.

Go Lead,