Archive for the ‘leadership’ Category

My personality type lends itself to always wanting to move forward and excel. In fact, most people that are naturally drawn to leadership are driven by the desire for personal achievement. While personal achievement can be a great motivator, it in itself cannot be confused as leadership. Many leaders after realizing personal success in the trenches of the battle field cannot make the leap to a broader leadership role because they believe they need to be the “hero” every time.   These type of leaders don’t allow others to grow and will sometimes actually sabotage their follower’s efforts and/or steal the credit.

Bottom line: If leadership is about leading others, the highest form of leadership success is succeeding through others. A leader that can equip, develop, and position others for success HAS succeeded.

What about you? What have you learned about leadership in this area? Join the discussion below.

Nathan

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When I assess a leader or someone that desires to be in leadership, I always ask them what area do you need to grow in. If they can’t give me a clear answer I know right away that the person has a self-awareness issue. They’re blind to their weaknesses as a person. While a person might have some natural  talents and abilities you cannot continue to just run your leadership on these alone.

If you desire to grow in leadership you cannot continue to sit on your hands and wait for a “Super Ninja Mentor” to come ask you if he/she can mentor you. Take ownership of your own development. Here are 3 ways you can make some growth happen:

1. ASK: If you don’t know what areas you need to grow in; ask someone. Go to someone that has seen you in action and ask them to give you some feedback.

2. Grow through reading: This is a great way to have mentors at a distance with some of the best minds in the world.  (Side note: “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”)

3. Seek Out Mentorship: Grow through getting together with someone that’s farther along the journey then you are. Maybe take them to lunch or buy them coffee and ask for help. Good leaders want to invest in up and coming leaders like someone invested in them.

Go Grow,

Nathan

Every pastor I know (including myself) lives for Sundays. We live for Sunday because we desire to see Jesus Christ  lifted up in worship and in the preaching of His word!  It’s our game day.  During the week we are praying, counseling, studying, writing, meeting with leadership, putting out fires and at times dealing with crisis in the lives of others. No matter what happens during the week, Sunday is still coming and while it’s not the only thing the church is about it is a major component.

Cue the Emotional Curtain to be Pulled Back)                                                                                  

As much as I love Sundays, Mondays are a huge let down. Let me explain. A pastor goes 90mph during the week and hits Sunday like a Mac Truck because he’s passionate about the church and what he believes God’s calling the church to. Monday’s are my current day off. For me Monday at times hangs on my like a wet coat…..a downer….a drag. There have been seasons when I felt like having a day off was pointless. I would have times when I didn’t even know how to use my day off. I would just sort of wander around the house or run errands that just seemed lame compared the overarching mission of leading and making disciples. When I feel that way, I hate it. I hate it because I know my wife and boys have to live with some of the residual effects of that Monday let down in my world. I’ve got to be intentional about making sure my view of my day of rest is not hooked up to that emotional roller-coaster that is pastoral ministry.

Bottom line:  God longs to be exalted in our Sundays and our Mondays. The ups and the downs. He’s just as present in both.

What about you? How are you managing the “let-downs” in your life? Are you allowing your emotions to rule you or are you digging deep into that shelter that is Christ Jesus?

Have a good Monday,

Nathan

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“If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Sir Isaac Newton

Just yesterday my family and I began a journey across the country to begin a new chapter of our lives in Raleigh, NC as we begin pastoring a wonderful church family at Raleigh Christian Community Church(http://www.rccchurch.org/).

Much of our trip on I-40 is actually the old Route 66 made famous in our country’s early car years. As I drove I reflected on the truth that most of I-40 was pioneered by men that first had a vision for Route 66. There were those that even laid the ground work for Route 66 in our nation’s earlier history that were willing to have the heart to “Go West.” I-40 (the present interstate) is the fruit of the vision, courage, endurance and tenacity of men that came before.

The church I now pastor was pioneered and led by such kind of men: Pastors Robert Spradley and Jim Kelly.

Any good that might come from my leadership as Pastor of RCC will come from Christ in me and the fact that as Sir Isaac Newton stated, “I stand on the shoulders of giants” such as these men that have come before me.

I wonder in your life have you taken the time to reflect on those that have come before you to sow seed that you now enjoy as harvest?

To God Be the Glory,
Nathan

>In driver’s education one of the first things that you’re taught is that there are “blind spots” around your vehicle based on where your particular side and rear view mirrors are. To over come this obstacle we are instructed to actually take a hard look around us to make sure the way we intend to go is clear. Failure to do so can and often does cause a wreck hurting you and others around you.

People have blind spots too. These are areas in our own life where we do not see our actions and ways of doing things correctly. Most people don’t know their blind spots. That’s why they’re called blind spots. As with driving, not taking the hard look at areas in our life that are weak can cause at best ineffectiveness and at worse destruction. I can tell you one of my blind spots: becoming distracted in one on one conversations. The reason I have the privilege of knowing this blind spot is because someone was kind of enough to point it out to me a few years ago. Let’s say I’m out on the church patio having a conversation with someone I do care about as hundreds of people walk around us. While trying to tune into what is being said to me I can find myself distracted seeing all of the people I need to touch base with: people I’ve been concerned about, people that have been trying to get a hold of me, etc. Someone kindly pointed out to me, “Nathan, I feel like when I try and talk to you that you’re distracted.” While this was hard to hear (Most blind spots are difficult to hear) it was incredibly helpful because I didn’t realize that I was making this person feel this way. With that input I was able to make corrections and do some things differently to work on this area.

We need people in our lives that we’ve given permission to point out areas of concern. When is the last time you’ve asked someone, “Is there an area of my personality that you think might be annoying or bothersome?” “What am I missing?” “What area in my leadership do you see as a weakness or could be sharpened?”. While these questions are painful to ask, the pay off of knowing the answers to these questions is HUGE.

Prov 27:6
Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.

It’s time to do more than check your mirrors. It’s time to take the hard look.

Go On Ask,

Nathan

>Go to fullsize imageI learned a brutal lesson this morning as I sat in a Starbucks lounge chair. I was meeting over coffee or in my case Hot Chocolate with a great guy that I’ve been mentoring. It had been several months since we had been able to meet and there was a lot to catch up on. As we talked he shared with me some pretty big decisions that he had made and I found myself somewhat offended that he would not have come to me and asked for my input. As he continued to share I realized that he had withdrawn from the mentor relationship because he thought I was too busy for him and yet I had perceived his lack of contact with me as being a lack of follow through on his part. He wanted an older brother relationship that sought after him and I wanted a mentee that knew the ball was in his court and not mine.

This was a break down in communicating expectations. A few lessons I learned:

1. You cannot assume that people know what your expectations are of them in a relationship. People can’t your mind.
2. You cannot assume to know what others expectations are of you in a relationship. You can’t read their mind.
3. Talk openly about expectations early on in the relationship.
4. When in doubt, ask.
5. If someone fails your expectations have a loving and grace filled conversation with them. Resist the urge to withdrawal, isolate and bail on the relationship.

Always Learning,

Nathan

>With October being pastor appreciation month I thought I could turn the influence of my powerhouse of a blog 🙂 toward church families  and write about how they can be caring for and feeding their pastors. I know full well that there will be some that will see this as self-serving knowing that I am a pastor. I don’t mind being misunderstood, people misunderstood Jesus all the time. Most pastors won’t teach on this topic for this exact reason, they think people will think they have an alterior motive. But not teaching a Godly principle because you may be misunderstood is cowardly. This robs the church of actually knowing what they should and could be doing to properly honor and care for their pastors.


One of the greatest things you can do for your pastor is pray for him and his family.  I’m not talking about throwing him into your twenty second prayer at dinner. I’m talking about setting aside time in your prayer and devotional time on a regular basis to pray for him. Pray for your pastor as a family. This is a great way to model to your children the importance of praying for those in leadership. As with most things in life we can come to a place of taking things we value for granted, our pastors being one of them. Realize, that Satan has a special affinity for picking off church leaders. The military does not have officers wear their rank on their helmets in combat for a reason. They know that if the enemy knows who is leading they will be the first soldiers targeted. If Satan can take out church leadership in some way, he can begin to wreak havoc in a church family.


Pray for your pastor’s spiritual health. Pray that God would continue to cultivate his soul. Pray that God would give him wisdom for the countless decisions that must be made and people he must counsel. Pray that God would guard and deepen his marriage. Pray that God would help him as a father to pastor his home well. Pray that God would provide every need: physical, emotional and financial. Every pastor covets the prayers of his flock.


Why not stop and pray for your pastor right now,


Nathan