Browsing: Learning from History

Leadership Is Saving People In The “Titanic’s” Of Life #286

John Harper’s name is not familiar today, yet his example and dedication is inspiring. An engaging preacher, he pastored two churches in Glasgow and London. His preaching and teaching style was effective and styled as an evangelist.

“He was a great open-air preacher and could always command large and appreciated audiences”, “a man who craved for souls, He would sometimes spend all night in prayer”.

“My beloved brother was a man mighty in prayer. He was a master of this holy art. I have been with him in prayer again and again when his whole frame shook like an aspen leaf, so earnest was he in his pleadings with God for a perishing world. Little wonder hard hearts were broken and stubborn wills subdued under his ministry.”

George Harder

“I can say that no pastor, nor teacher, nor evangelist ever moved my inner being more than the pleading and preaching of John Harper. He was always on fire for God and souls. How often I heard him say, when lying on his face before God covered with perspiration, ‘O God give me souls or I die!’”

W. D. Dunn

Friends spoke of him as “a man who was in touch with God, I was amazed at his boldness in asking God for great things. When John Harper prayed, heaven and earth met.  He was strong in his love for the perishing. Oh how he burned, and prayed, labored and wept for the conversion of sinners and blessed be God, great numbers were led to the Savior through his consecrated efforts.” (BaptistPress)

The great Moody church in Chicago church was anxiously awaiting his arrival, not only because of the pending services, but John was accepting their Pastoral call

“It was late in the evening on April 14/1912, that fateful night when the great ‘unsinkable’ Titanic hit an iceberg. As the Titanic slipped under the water taking 1,500 people with it, Pastor John Harper passionately gave up his life jacket to another when his Christ focused question was rejected. John said his fellow passenger needed it more.

Moody Adams, The Titanic’s Last Hero

“One survivor testified he was clinging to ship debris when Harper swam up to him, twice challenging him with a biblical invitation to “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” He rejected the offer once. Yet, given the second chance and with miles of water beneath his feet, the man gave his life to Christ. Then, as Harper succumbed to his watery grave, this new believer was rescued by a returning lifeboat.”

BaptistPress

Leadership is, giving our all so that people come to Jesus.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

https://jethrogroup.files.wordpress.com/2018/11/jethrogrouplogo.png

{ Comments are closed }

Leadership Is Challenging Mediocrity #234

Laurie KennedyA few minutes before midnight on April 14, 1912, 1,500 hundred people faced their cold watery grave in the icy waters of the North Atlantic. The infamous iceberg was the start of the end. Or was it?

This historical disaster didn’t begin at 10:55 pm when the ship received a wireless warning (the sixth warning that day) of ice less than 20 miles North.  The Wireless operator responded, “Keep out! Shut up! You’re jamming my signal”. (The Titanic by Tom McCluskie)

It also didn’t start at 11:30 pm when a slight blue haze appeared ahead.

It didn’t start at 11:40 pm when the fact was confirmed that the Titanic and it’s 3,500 passengers and crew had hit an iceberg.

The start of the end of the Titanic disaster inevitably began and continued in the minds, dreams and strategy of the owners, builders and passengers of the day. The Shipbuilder, (the trade magazine of its day) articled the Titanic as “Practically unsinkable”.

“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the future.” (C.S.Lewis)

What will Church historians say about our churches 100 plus years into the future? Will they debate our buildings, budgets, manpower and love for independence?  Will they read, analyze and debate the impact, accomplishments, programs and sermons of our day? Will they focus on the Televangelists, the Mega Churches or the average local community of believers? Or, will they decry our inability to make a phenomenal difference to our generation based on God’s love for his people.

Here’s my challenge for each of us.  We all have a tradition and a church culture (the way we do it around here). My challenge is to define which of our Christian habits are really Biblical, glorifying God and leading people to worship.

Leadership is … changing our future by ensuring everything we do is God directed and glorifying to Him.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
Jethro Group
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

{ Comments are closed }

Leadership Is Forgiving #228

Laurie KennedySome churches are challenged by a member who knows it all, complains about everything and wants to control the church through their finances, experience and threats.

These challenging church members have similar characteristics. They sit in the same seat every Sunday and are extremely critical of the Pastor and Board. They offer significant encouragement and cash on their favorite projects but nothing to others. Any testimony is about previous years, former Pastors, favorite projects and any prayer is directed similarly.

I was asked to advise a Board concerning one of these individuals. A mentor encouraged me to read ‘The Devil in Row Seven’ by Rebecca Nichols Alonzo. The book arrived two days later and I was engrossed. This is not a book for casual relaxing reading with my feet on the coffee table by the fireplace. It was intense and riveting.  

The book relives the horror for Rebecca, daughter of Pastor Robert Nichols and her family. Their verbal, written and physical attacks required the assistance of the folks in their church, the police, and national media. I was horrified at the extent of hate directed to her family from a church member.

The book reinforced in me, “The primary purpose for our leadership mandate is to make known the glory of God by leading others to flourish in God’s design. (Designed to Lead by Eric Geiger and Kevin Peck) The phenomenal power of God given forgiveness that Rebecca and her family lived and demonstrated is obvious in the book. This awesome gift of forgiveness is available to all of us.

I finished reading the true experience of Rebecca and was totally immersed with the realization that God’s direction in her life was one of complete and total forgiveness for the member who sat in complete hatred of her Father. Wow!

Leadership is … forgiving first, then dealing with organizational and relationship issues.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
Jethro Group
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

{ Comments are closed }

Leadership Is Living The Diagnosis # 227

Laurie KennedyLeaders, imagine the scene. I’m thrilled with my university studies expectantly looking forward to a career full of opportunity challenge and success. Only the young understand the dreams, hopes and aspirations knowing the world is a stage and I’m ready to lead. The scene changes dramatically as I write my final exams in the hospital and the Neurologist’s words etch permanently on me.

“We’ve completed our tests. Your disease is incurable. We cannot predict the time and spread of the disease. You will most likely be in a wheelchair in two years. You probably won’t be able to have kids and likely not be able to support a family. The disease attacks your central nervous system short-circuiting messages sent to and from your brain. It is characterized by periods of attack and recession.”

That was my personal introduction to multiple sclerosis over 40 years ago. The challenges and opportunities have been numerous. But, I hold unto the fact that God has a plan for my life and he orchestrates the outcome.

We all have strengths, opportunities, weaknesses and limits. We also have God’s plan and Spiritual Gifts. None of us have any guarantees. I don’t know what tomorrow will hold and neither do you. What we do know is that we have today and what we prayerfully do today defines our future.

I believe in miracles. I also believe God has a plan. My life verse in the early years was.  “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.” (Matthew 6:30-33 MSG)

Leadership is … a crisis, problem or handicap is only a negative when you allow it to be.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
Jethro Group
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

{ Comments are closed }

Leadership Is Following the Leader

Laurie KennedyLeaders carry tremendous responsibility. In training events, we suggest “as the leader is, so the people are”. Leaders influence, make decisions and set the direction. Dedicated followers have effected tremendous good and committed fatal crimes under the influence of their leader. Leadership is not physical, material or symbolic power. It is value based character and example.

In January 1982 four Air Force pilots plummeted their aircraft to a tragic death and destruction at 650 km per hour. These pilots were highly trained and skilled. They had flown together as trusted professionals. They were trained to fly in formation ignoring the instruments, watching only their leader. The extensive investigation analyzed everything, equipment, maintenance records, training, experience, pilot health and performance data. Mechanical and performance issues were found to be in order.  With mechanical issues eliminated, the only probable cause of the tragedy was a case of follow the leader. Unknowingly, each pilot may have followed their leader to destruction.

As a leader, who are you following? Who is following you? Are your followers learning and adapting to your character and positive skills, or are they patterning themselves after your negative qualities.

As today’s illustration points out, you as the leader set the standard. When you don’t know where you’re going, neither will your staff.

As a leader in your church, mission or college setting, today’s example may seem dramatic. However, look at yourself today. Are you setting a high standard? Are you encouraging your people to do the same? Look at the long term implications of the people you lead. As a Family Pastor, your influence will encourage the positive health and strength of families. As the Youth Pastor, your connection guides teens through a volatile period of their lives. As a Senior Pastor or Mission Director, your influence has world-wide implications.

Leadership is … looking at your goals. A look today could change the shape of your future.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
Jethro Group
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

{ Comments are closed }

Leadership Is Monitoring Risks

 
Fifteen hundred people lost their lives within two hours and forty minutes in the freezing waters of the North Atlantic. At -2 degrees Celsius, Hypothermia can cause death in 30 minutes.
April 15/1912. “By the time she struck the berg, the Titanic was deep inside an icefield she had received no less than six wireless warnings about that same day-the last one, which was rudely cut off, had come less than an hour before the collision.” (Daniel Allen Butler, “Unsinkable” The Full Story)
The wireless operators were not employees of White Star lines or the Titanic. Employed by Marconi, their personal priority was receiving tips from passengers, who were sending and receiving messages from home about their historic trip on the world’s greatest ship of the time.
Hindsight is great. We look back with 20/20 vision. Looking at the Titanic in detail we find numerous leadership challenges. An obvious would be ensuring that wireless communication concerning the safety of the ship had highest priority. Can we assume that Captain Smith’s highest priority that fateful night was passenger, crew and ship safety?
What about your church or mission? Do you have early warning systems in place? You may not face ice bergs, but you do face challenges and risks. Do you plot or monitor issues that warn you before they become threatening. In this weekly blog, we’ve illustrated the need to monitor the positives and growth issues to improve your organizational health.  The opposite is also true.

  • What do you monitor to assess your risk?
  • Do you monitor the average age of your people?
  • Is the average age of your leaders or Board members increasing?
  • Do your visitors return for a second visit?
  • Do you struggle to find capable and willing leaders?
  • Are your counselling sessions dealing with more negatives than positives?

By watching both the positive and negative you can protect your vision and organization.
Leadership is … monitoring the positives and negatives that impact your future.
Yours in Service,
Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
Jethro Group
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

{ Comments are closed }

Leadership Is … Harvesting What Is Planted

Laurie KennedyThe world was unaware.  No one heard or noticed the frightening and deafening ‘crack’ as the iceberg separated from its location in Northern Labrador. The world continued on its path, undisturbed and unaware that two profound and divergent systems were about to impact the world with a 10 second intersection.

Well into its maiden voyage 1500 people were blissfully partying, totally unaware that their lives would be taken that night of April 14/1912, in the cold waters of the North Atlantic. With a goal to arrive in New York a day early, Captain Smith, followed the direction of his hierarchy to proceed at full speed. The Titanic, having received and ignored 6 Wireless warnings, was over an hour into the ice field.

In his book Unsinkable, Daniel Butler illustrates, “No other disaster in history could have been more easily avoided or was more inevitable, and it is this apparent contradiction that runs through the entire story. A chain of events and decisions that began years before the Titanic was even built, and ending only seconds before she struck the iceberg, led to that deadly convergence of the twain. And had any one of them been altered, the whole disaster, or at least the appalling loss of life, might have been averted. Nevertheless, each event, each decision relentlessly led to the next until the ship lay at the bottom of the ocean and had taken fifteen hundred lives with it.”

I have the awesome privilege of working with churches. Yet, that privilege carries an awesome and equally frightening realization that many of our churches are heading toward disaster. The Titanic, its owners, builders, employees and travelling public were so convinced that it was unsinkable that they ignored any and all advice.  Some of our churches are like that. When a church leader tells me, “they have always done it this way and they will not change a thing”, they are headed for a disaster.

Paul put it this way in Galatians 6:7 (NASB) “Do not be deceived, God is not marked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap”.

Leadership is prayerfully examining our lives, systems and methods to be sure that God will be glorified.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
Jethro Group
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

{ Comments are closed }

Leadership is Learning from History

Laurie KennedyA series of drastic leadership decisions, compounded and overseen by Captain Edward John Smith led to 1500 individuals drowning in the cold waters of the North Atlantic 400 miles from Newfoundland. These men, women and children were victims of leadership failure.

At 2:18 AM on April 14, 1912, the Titanic hit an iceberg. The world’s largest and most technologically advanced ship with double hulls was believed to be unsinkable. The tragedy was further compounded in that the ship had received 6 wireless warnings of icebergs in its path

Captain Smith was about to retire and arriving in New York a day earlier would be an exceptional accomplishment, providing him a spot on the speaking and consulting tour of his day. Under pressure from his superiors, he increased the speed of his ship in known iceberg waters. He relied on the technology of his day, putting his belief in craftsmanship and his need for personal achievement ahead of the health and safety of his passengers.

If a Servant Leader had been Captain of the Titanic, his decision making would have integrated the technology of his ship with his heart, character values, the Vision of his corporation and the safety of his passengers and crew. He would have put service before personal achievement. Customer and passengers’ interests would have outweighed safety over risk. He might also have considered “Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock?” (Ezekiel 34:2, 3 NIV) He also might have remembered, “each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4 NIV) John MacArthur, in “The Book on Leadership confirms, “a good leader never makes a decision that is a pure gamble. Wise leaders don’t wager with their people. They don’t subject their people to unnecessary hazards.”

As a Leader, can you identify with the Captain of the Titanic? Is your belief in your methodology so strong that you’ll risk everything?

Leadership is putting the needs of your followers ahead of your personal needs.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
Jethro Group

{ Comments are closed }