Browsing: Leadership

Leadership Is… A Body Of Believers #305

Every church or mission is unique with its own culture. This culture is a mosaic of the vision, mission, values, habits, beliefs, traditions and rules held by the individuals involved. These components work together to develop the culture and define the spiritual health of your church. 

A servant led church would be a living, growing, learning organism that radiates Christ’s love. “If you don’t live it, you don’t believe it.” (Larry Spears, Theory of Servant-Leadership.)

Your church is a body of believers. This body of Servant Leaders, demonstrating God’s love through serving has the potential for impacting its surrounding community. Imagine the unprecedented impact a group of dedicated Christ following churches would have on our world. Small decisions influence larger decisions and transformed lives impact others, the wave of influence for Christ is beyond imagination in today’s world.

A Servant led church would have a dynamic, exciting and motivating vision based firmly on God’s Word plus the values and spiritual gifts of its people. The vision would focus each individual to a closer personal relationship with God. The vision would involve leading others to Christ and developing disciples. There would be Home Bible Studies and opportunities to meet for prayer during the week in addition to the weekend services. Each service would be designed to bring people into a closer relationship with their heavenly Father. This church would be committed to win their community for Christ.

George Barna surveyed people who didn’t attend church presently, asking if they decided to attend a church, what would influence their choice. “The most common response was they would seek a church that was committed to helping people outside the church who needed care and consideration”. ( I find this fascinating. People who don’t attend church see community service as a factor that would influence their choice of a church to attend. “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4 NKJV)

Serving in church should be equivalent to a gene or DNA within the human genogram. Imagine a loving, caring serving gene within the growing living organism of your church that grows and reproduces itself. The influence would be beyond imagination.

Leadership is … showing God’s love to your community.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach

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Leadership Is… Really Listening #304

An effective leader is an equally effective communicator. As a speaker I want people to listen and hear. As a listener, I also want to hear and really understand what others are saying. An hour with one of my mentors is useless if I don’t listen, hear and learn. We need to listen more than we talk to be sure that others feel valued.

“A true natural servant automatically responds to any problem by listening first.” (Robert K. Greenleaf, The Servant as Leader)

Listening is more than just being present and quiet. It is focusing all your physical, emotional and psychological energies to the conversation. The individual reading, corresponding or sleeping in the back of a team meeting is only physically there. Their presence is not assisting, it is hindering the learning process. In communication, the art of being fully and completely involved is paramount. Your physical, emotional and physiological presence must be seen and felt.

“Let the wise listen and add to their learning.” (Proverbs 1:5 NIV)

When listening, be aware of the big picture, listen and watch for intent, tone of voice and the body language. The body language involves the eyes, feet, hands, general posture and emotional responses. Watch for consistency, do the emotions back up the words, or do the words tell a different story?

The actual words are important, but tend to communicate far less than the manner in which the words are used. Listen to the words, but listen within the context. Most people remember less than 30% of the words heard. The rest of the content becomes filler. By listening to all the variables you can communicate effectively.

The effective servant leader knows that listening is the best investment in team development.

Leadership is … listening and really hearing.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach

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Leadership Is… An Ideal Leader #303

Ever wondered about the ideal leader? What skills, behaviours and attitudes would be lived daily? Would the ideal leader be a people person, a number cruncher a Christian servant leader or someone different?

During leadership seminars and personal interviews I’ve asked hundreds of employees and volunteers what skills or attributes they expect, appreciate and want most in a leader. The skills cited are not difficult, but in combination provide a dynamic quality, yet enjoyable working experience. Here are four characteristics to strive for.

The consistent response to my questions, backed by research, is that leaders must be honest. Good news or bad, followers want leaders to tell the word straight. The leader who is honest sets a standard for the organization. Staff will follow the example.

The ideal boss is consistent. The leadership style is predictable. No ups and downs of good and bad days. No favourites. Staff and volunteers can enjoy the work knowing the style of their leader.

The ideal leader works from defined set of values. These values guide decisions, goals, plans and working strategies. Every decision could be traced back to a basic value. These values depend on the individual, but benefit the organization both above and below the leader. The employees can assess their best fit with the leader, and the leader can assess a best fit within the organization.

The golden rule has been around for centuries, but is as current to today’s business and customer service as it was in Christ’s day. “Here is a simple rule of thumb for behaviour: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them!” (Luke 6:31 MSG) Think of it in today’s terms. The satisfied customer, follower, supporter always comes back. Every leader has followers. The associates, suppliers, front line staff and volunteers or customers want quality service. The ideal leader treats each of these with the same high quality respect, dedication and service. People will respond to quality service and come back for more.

The ideal leader, could be you? How do you rate on these points?

Leadership is … following Christ’s example of service.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach

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Leadership Is… A Servant Led Church #302

Paul uses a practical construction analogy, “In him, the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord”. (Ephesians 2:21 NIV) You wouldn’t want to live and work within a building that is poorly constructed. The risks are obvious. Yet, many of us work in organizational environments that are ineffective.

The corporate world has been shaken with CEO’s and CFO’s who re-arrange budget and resources for their own benefit. “People value honesty and integrity in a leader more than anything else. Virtually every person they talked with placed integrity at the top of the leadership wish list.”  (James Kouzes and Barry Posner, quoted by Perkins in Awaken the Leader Within) The Servant led church integrates a service philosophy with integrity. Every member is encouraged to live a life of honesty, truthfulness and integrity. This is a church the world will notice.

The Servant led church is a learning and growing organism. It is characterized by a collective unity and interdependence of each individual and team. The teams define their goals, are delegated a budget and resources, and are accountable to each other and the overall Vision. Leadership, decision making, planning and goal setting are shared, not held by the faithful few. The Servant led church knows its own strengths, weaknesses and the gifts of its people. It also knows the power of people working tougher effectively, “Two can accomplish more than twice as much as one.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9 TLB)

The Servant led church reduces the emphasis on the power hierarchy while encouraging team work and a service role for each leader. Each leader would interact within a team. The teams would be composed of divergent thinking people, different ages, different occupations, and ideally different cultures. Each would be committed to the Vision, working independently, yet supporting each other. Although the teams may appear leaderless, the leader is the Vision and the team works the mission as a group of equals.

Is your church a Servant led church?

Leadership is … serving individually and collectively. 

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach

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Leadership Is… Demonstrated by Christ #301

Jesus showed his disciples the full extent of his love.

In Christ’s day walking was the mode of transportation. Think about it. Sandals, sand and dirt under the hot sun would be very uncomfortable. A long day of walking, talking and teaching would leave your feet sore, dirty, sweaty and probably smelly. According to the culture of the day, when guests came to visit, especially if a meal was involved, the host was expected to provide a servant or slave to wash your feet. The service was expected and appreciated by the guest. However, from the servant’s perspective, kneeling in silence and washing feet was considered to be the lowliest of the lowly tasks.

Christ the master, the teacher, knowing his crucifixion was eminent took the role of the servant. Christ also knew he would be denied by Peter and betrayed by Judas. Yet, as an act of service, “Having loved His own who were in the world, he loved them to the end”. (John 13:1 NIV) Christ challenged the tradition and culture of the day. Christ, the teacher, God’s beloved Son, took on the role of the servant and washed His disciples’ feet.

We have traditions in our culture as well. You’ve heard the phrase, ‘that’s not the way we do it around here’. In our day, at work or church we have habits and unwritten rules. For some it is the style of music, for others it is the arrangement of the furniture in the sanctuary. Others have a command and control leadership style borrowed from a failing secular model. Some feel a particular style of dress is required to worship in the church while others argue and debate whether a church should provide a service to a neighboring community.

These are traditions and habits. Christ challenged the traditions of the day by showing a caring and humble attitude demonstrating his love to His disciples.

Christ demonstrated His love for His followers, by washing their feet. I’m not recommending you follow suit. However, it only makes sense that the church leader, Pastor, or corporate CEO would use Christ’s example to challenge traditional habits to demonstrate his love for his people.

Leadership is … showing the people you lead, the full extent of your love for Christ.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach

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Leadership Is… Leading From Your Heart #300

Heart values are significant to the Servant Leader. Christ reminds us, “The things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart”. (Matthew 15:18 NIV) The heart values of  Servant Leaders are not designed for self-gratification and the glory of men. “A true servant does what he does from the heart to be seen by the Lord, not by men.” (Servant Leadership and Eldership)

The Servant Leader leads, as Christ did, from the heart. Instead of thinking control and personal power, the Christian Servant Leader lives by Christ’s values. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus”. (Philippians 2:5 KJV) This requires a transformation of thought, belief and practice. The Servant leader is not concerned about self, personal glory or individual accomplishment. “The substance of servant hood. It is about people who are willing to submit to the Lordship of Christ no matter what the personal implications.” (McManus, An Unstoppable Force)

“Real Servant Leadership begins when you decide to learn from and follow the real Servant Leader, Jesus Christ.” (Wilkes, Jesus on Leadership, Discovering the secrets of servant leadership from the life of Christ) Our daily life, work and volunteer activities should demonstrate Christ in all we do.

Servant Eldership is about serving others by serving Christ. Pastors, leaders, employers and volunteers, do you have a heart value to serve the people in your community? Do you serve from your heart filled with Christ’s love? What can you do this week to serve our Lord, the vision of your place of work and the church you attend? You, with God’s help, can change your heart, your neighbors heart and that of your community.  Christ did!

Leadership is … changing hearts not minds.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach

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Leadership Is… Knowing God Personally #299

I love leadership in all its components. However, all the techniques, skills and motivation aside, where I really live and base my thinking is this. I’m a Bible based, faith focused, born again believer. I take my Bible and my relationship with my Heavenly Father seriously. I’m a Christian. You can be as well because God loves you.

“For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV)

We were designed with a plan.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:13-16 NIV)

We have all sinned. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23 NIV)

Christ lived and died paying the price. He gave his life for you. “God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners. Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 NIV) Christ said, “I have come that they may have life, and may have it to the full”. (John 10:10 NIV)

Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 NIV)

We need to receive Christ. “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12 NIV)

We receive Christ through Faith. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV)

As we receive Christ we experience a new birth. Pray today for God to forgive your sin and come to live within your heart. He has gone to prepare a place for you.

Leadership is, accepting God’s call.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach

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Leadership Is… God’s Plan for Me #298

My Mother liked to tell me about the day she helped me pray for God’s forgiveness when I was 4 years old. No, I don’t remember the words or circumstances but I trust my Mother and accepted her memory.

Grade school was especially difficult because I stuttered so badly I could hardly talk. I have a specific memory of an awful day and asking my Mom why Jesus wouldn’t help me talk clearly. She again showed me how to pray, asking God to forgive me, and heal my inability to talk clearly. Fascinating, I now make my living speaking in public.

In High School I struggled with the reality that I grew up in a relatively normal Christian home but I didn’t have a dramatic before and after salvation story. Most teen speakers in that day had great life changing stories describing the change after a conversion experience with Christ. I didn’t.

My mentor at the time was our Youth for Christ Director, Rev. Louis Peskett. He reminded me again and again that God had a plan and I was in it. Also, that God designed me uniquely for his purpose. I didn’t need a dramatic before and after story. I didn’t have the dramatics because that wasn’t in God’s plan for me. I just needed to ask God to forgive my sin and accept his gift of salvation.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NIV)

I take prayer and my relationship with my Heavenly Father seriously. My career has included the extreme pressure and negative challenges of the corporate world. Then, the equally prayer filled thrilling, and unique challenges of ministry. I know that God lives in my heart and I’m thankful.

Leadership is … living God’s plan

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach

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Leadership Is… God Calling a Youth Pastor #297

God called me into youth ministry, on a yellow school bus, when I was 14 years old.

When I was in grade 7 my dad organized a “family meeting.” Family meetings are never particularly good. Usually they are grand announcements of impending doom or disappointment.

In this particular case my dad announced that we would be moving to McLennan Alberta. Up until that point Red Deer was the only city I knew and I had really enjoyed growing up there.

McLennan is a small town of 400 people approximately 4 hours north of Edmonton. I affectionately refer to it as a “hole in the ground.” Every school day my brother, sister and I would get on a yellow school bus and travel from our home outside of McLennan, through McLennan into a village called Donnelly. (I’m not making this up these are real names.)

In Donnelly we would attend a school of almost 600 kids and, as far as I could tell, we were the only people who did not grow up there. It seemed like everyone was somehow related and none of us were cousins of anyone in the school.

Therefore, I got picked on.

A lot.

My only saving grace and solace was the acreage we lived on. It had amazing places we could visit and forested areas I could hide in. I would get lost in those forests for hours.

The other thing that kept me sane was a youth group in a town called High Prairie that my Dad would drive us to every Friday night. Finally, there were kids I knew who had the same values as we did and worshipped the same God. I am fairly certain that if it hadn’t been for that youth group in High Prairie I probably would have left the church and Christianity altogether.

So, after a particularly hard day at school, with bullying at its peak I found myself angry, really angry. I’m on the long ride home on that same yellow school bus that I’m on every day. I’ve got my head pressed forward into the seat in front of me and I’m fuming. I remember being frustrated with my situation and asking God questions like, “Why did we have to move here?” Just plain telling God, “I hate this place.” The thing I remember most clearly about this day is that I asked God, “Why are kids in small towns so mean?”

… and I heard his response.

It wasn’t audible it was in my head but it was clearly God.

He said, “there is no one who loves teenagers in small towns.”

I knew what he meant. He did not mean that parents or grandparents don’t love teenagers. He did not mean that teachers don’t love teenagers. God was telling me that there needed to be more youth pastors in small towns. From that moment I knew my calling, God was asking me to become a youth pastor. (Excerpted from Chet Kennedy, Broken Mortals)

Leadership is … listening and looking for God’s call.

Yours in Service,

Chet Kennedy

Son of: Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach

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Leadership Is… Knowing and Following God’s Call #296

Do you have a Damascus Road experience? Paul did. Did God ask you to join Joshua and visit the Promised Land? Caleb responded. Did God challenge and train you to lead upwards of a million people through strife, complaining and a dry land experience in the Red Sea? Moses accepted the challenge. Your experience may not have been as dramatic as these. But, you have been called to a unique role.

My High School experience was not positive. I graduated, attended Bible College then University for my degree in clinical Psychology moving toward a career in Family Counselling. I envisioned my career dealing with individual, family conflict and addictions.

My family and friends consistently told me I’d have a career in administration. My response was ‘no way was I going to push a pencil for my career’. I wanted to do real work with real people. Hmm! Our Bible College President and mentor confided in me that he felt I would be heading to the secular world and ministry later. He encouraged me to read about Caleb. I’ve identified with Caleb ever since.

Throughout this awesome career it has been a privilege to follow God’s calling and plan. As the Western Coordinator with a National Organization of Evangelical churches I was leading and counselling Pastors and church leaders across Western Canada. In my current role I coach leaders in person and by phone having the privilege of touching faith based leaders worldwide. It is an awesome privilege to follow God’s plan.

“It is as great and as difficult a spiritual calling to run the factories and the mines, the banks and the department stores, the schools and government agencies for the kingdom of God as it is to pastor a church or serve as an evangelist.”  (Crane and Hamel, Executive Influence)

Throughout a fascinating career in the secular and ministry worlds it was obvious that God had a plan and we are thankful.

Leadership is … joining God’s call.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach

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