Leadership Is… A Personal Relationship With God #293

The Christian Servant Leader has a personal relationship with God. Like the men and women of the Bible, “Enoch walked faithfully with God”. (Genesis 5:22 NIV) “Noah found favor is the eyes of the Lord”. (Genesis 6:8 NIV) The Lord spoke to Moses “Face to face, as a man speaks to a friend”. (Exodus 33:11 NIV) “I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart”. (Acts 13:22 NIV) “The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people”. (1 Samuel 13:14 NIV) We need to be like the disciples, they didn’t follow a position, they followed Christ, “They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way”. (Mark 10:32 NIV) The Christian Servant Leader has a personal relationship with Christ. “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life”. (1 John 5:11-12 NIV)

The Christian Servant Leader exudes love and care through the heart characteristics of faith, patience and a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father. These heart characteristics are modeled outwardly through caring, service, prayer and a continual love for God’s word. The very first step in developing a personal relationship with Christ is to accept his gift, “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life”. (John 3:16 NIV)

God is still looking for men and women after his own heart; individuals who have a personal relationship with Christ. People of faith, trust and love who are willing to give their lives in service.

A relationship, like a friendship, goes both ways. “Jesus cultivated extraordinary relationships with his followers. He invested deeply in others and personally attended to people and dedicated himself to meeting their needs…and encourage an atmosphere of openness, accountability and equity.” (Angie Mays, Courteous Rebel Jesus’ Model of Leadership)

As a Christian Servant Leader, do you cultivate extraordinary relationships with your followers? As you share your personal relationship with Christ, others will follow your lead.

Leadership is, people seeing Christ in you.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is… Appreciating Your Pastor #292

You have a business. It has tremendous potential for success. Your product has the power to change our world. You have history on your side, experience is positive and the market potential is beyond imagination. Your business idea is relatively free for the asking and leads people to change their lives. You even have testimonies from individuals whose lives have been changed.

This business of yours is highly complex and diverse. You could compare it to the human body. When everything works together, it is healthy and finely tuned. You can accomplish great things and have the potential to work for a lifetime. However, there is a qualifier: this new venture of yours is totally dependent on a unique and highly complex component. You call it the brains of the organization. The organization, organism if you prefer, will grow, lead into neutral or shrink, based on this unique engineering. This marvelous piece of technology is so critical that if it breaks down, your business breaks down. Further, without this unique piece of equipment, your business dies. OK, you get the picture. As this piece of equipment thrives, so does your organization.

You value and appreciate this critical piece of machinery and know it needs to be properly maintained. It needs long term scrutiny, oiling and replacing of worn parts. You’ll want to ensure good quality subcomponents to keep your business operating successfully for years to come. Remember, your business grows, stays in neutral or dies depending on this marvelous piece of equipment. You have a couple of options to consider.

Enough illustration. I have your attention. In this fictional illustration, your Pastoral staff represent the highly technical and complex component that keeps your church alive. We need to do everything we can to ensure their effectiveness.

“Honor those leaders who work so hard for you who have been given the responsibility of urging and guiding you along to your obedience. Overwhelm them with appreciation and love!” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 MSG)

Dear Pastors, we love and appreciate you.

Leadership is, caring for your Pastor

Yours in Service,
Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is… Listening to Understand #291

Our most effective leaders are amazing listeners. These are the people who listen thoughtfully and carefully. They want to hear our words, our heart values and struggles. Good listening is more than being quiet while the other person talks. Great conversations are interactive. The best listeners ask questions to discover and share insight, aiming for a common understanding.

The best listeners ask questions that promote discovery and insight. Good listening is a cooperative and interactive conversation allowing feedback to flow smoothly in both directions. The best leaders encourage conversations instead of directing. Use what or how questions to get people to open up. Then, ask open-ended questions to help group members answer with more than a simple yes or no. Questions like, what did you learn from the verse or chapter of the book, will bring up more illustrative inquiry. As you listen and interact, watch for nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions, gestures, posture, and other subtle body language signals.  It is estimated that 80% of what we communicate comes from these non-verbal signals. We listen with our eyes as well as our ears.

The focus of a conversation is not just covering the material. It is prayerfully focusing on God’s plan. Pray before, during and after an individual or group meeting.

“The single greatest attribute of an effective leader: (is) the ability to listen. Keep in mind that for most people, listening is about the hardest work they’ll ever do.”  (Brian Billick, Competitive Leadership: Twelve Principles for Success)

We are naturally biased to speak our minds. Ineffective leaders are poor listeners and treat conversations as chances to talk about themselves increasing their perceived status.  They spend more time planning their next response than listening to others.

God invites us to be quiet and listen. “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10 NIV)

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry”. (James 1:19 NIV)

Leadership is … listening and caring to build relationships

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is… Getting It Right #290

Are you adrift with ineffective leadership? Many Christian leaders have adopted leadership styles without a Biblical standard. They don’t lead by serving. They may set goals, monitor performance, counsel, recruit, motivate and discipline. But, following the latest guru or fad of the month club doesn’t work.

“Much of the church is spiritually impotent-void of vital, personal and intimate walk with God. Having fallen into the cult of the comfortable, the church, for the most part, is no long a power to be reckoned with. It has largely lost the respect of the masses; it is often no longer a power to be reckoned with. It has largely lost the respect of the masses’ it is often the object of ridicule. Tragically, it has become the last place our nation would turn for help.” (Bill Bright, The coming Revival America’s Call to Fast, Pray and “Seek God’s Face”)

“Jesus shrugged it off. Every tree that wasn’t planted by my Father in heaven will be pulled up by its roots. Forget them. They are blind men leading blind men. When a blind man leads a blind man, they both end up in the ditch.” (Matthew 15:13-14 MSG)

“Good leaders can make a small difference; bad leaders can make a huge negative difference”. (Fortune Magazine)

We’ve all heard the phrase, “History repeats itself’. To state it another way, the future will be the same as the past, unless something changes. As Christian leaders, if we want to have any impact on our future, we need to change. I’m not recommending a change in theology, values, prayer or Bible study. I’m suggesting as Christian leaders, we need to follow Christ’s example and exude Servant Leadership. We need to follow the blueprint.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2 NIV)

Are your followers growing in their relationship to their Heavenly Father? If not, why not?

Leadership is, following a Biblical standard of Servant Leadership.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is… Knowing Who You Serve #289

Servant Leadership is alive and healthy in many churches. These focused and value driven churches recognize and utilize the individual spiritual gifts of their people. The service they provide is a priority and foremost in their thinking. Their Vision, Values and procedures are infused with service. They live, breathe and duplicate themselves through loving and caring service. These churches are growing, winning their communities to Christ and making a difference in our world.

As Christian leaders we have an awesome calling. We are all uniquely gifted and dedicated providing a mosaic of skills to accomplish God’s purpose. Winning others to Christ, sharing God’s love at home, work and church, while sharing Biblical principles. Servant Leadership is always God honoring.

Character and values are critical to the Servant Leader. “No man can serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24 NIV) Your Biblical application shows every day at work. Scripture will be integrated and each word covered in prayer.

As Christian Leaders we are at decision point. We cannot lead by tradition, and ‘the way we’ve always done it’. It isn’t working.

In our churches we need Biblically based Servant Leaders that lead effectively. Christ said, “Every kingdom (Church) divided against itself will be ruined”. (Matthew 12:25 NIV) “It is the Lord Christ you are serving”. (Colossians 3:24 NIV) “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people”. (Ephesians 6:7 NIV)

We are either in this world to win others to Christ or we are not. The most significant transformation is available to our leaders who take the initiative to learn, grow and begin the journey to be a Christian Servant leader.

Our world is waiting for us to make the change.

Leadership is learning to serve with a Christ like attitude.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is… Shepherding #288

Eagles fly solo to an altitude of 10,000 feet. With excellent eyesight they can see up to five kilometres. Horses are strong, trainable, can work alone, in pairs or lead effectively. Sheep herd, prefer to be together, need direction and get upset easily.

All of our churches have a few eagle leaders. They are the independent thinkers. They are comfortable in a variety of situations. They know what they believe, what their spiritual gifts are and are willing lead us into a Kingdom focused future.

Our churches also have work horse leaders.  These individuals know their skills, are willing to learn new ideas and when motivated and encouraged will work in a team.

Our churches also have sheep. These are the quality, dedicated people who are comfortable and relaxed in a variety of group settings. They respond to a volunteer request as they feel skilled, involved and accepted.

“When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon son of John, do you love me more than these? Yes, Lord, he said, you know that I love you. Jesus said, Feed my lambs. Again Jesus said, Simon son of John, do you love me? He answered, Yes, Lord, you know that I love you. Jesus said, Take care of my sheep. The third time he said to him, Simon son of John, do you love me? Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time. Do you love me? He said, Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you. Jesus said, Feed my sheep”. (John 21:15-17 NIV)

An effective God directed leader cares about all the people and their unique skills and needs. The scriptural example is to lay down our lives for the sheep. Whether, characterized as the Eagle, the work horse or the sheep, they are all valuable and the priority is those who are lost.

“The truth is that the church will grow automatically when a Kingdom focus is exercised by your church members.” (Kent Humphreys, Shepherding Horses)

Leadership is, finding and caring for every lost individual.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is Mentoring And Being Mentored #287

A mentor is a wise and trusted counsellor. Some mentors are formal, others casual. The “Mentoring discipline comes from the same root word as disciple.  Disciple means to teach or to train.” (Hunter, James C. The World’s most Powerful Leadership Principle) Each of us are challenged to choose a faith focused mentor to lead and guide.

I have the very unique privilege of having four mentors. I worked for three of them in their various Board Chair roles and the other is a very trusted friend.  They are each Christian Leaders, active in their churches and successful in their families and careers. All our discussions are scripturally based with the prayerful goal to be more effective, Christ-like Servant Leaders. We pray, share, learn from the books we read, the speakers we listen to and those we have consulted with. The best part is we learn from each other.

“The best leadership training program ever designed was a day-by-day mentoring, in which twelve students watched their Leader and then did what he did.”

Kevin A. Miller Leadership Journal

Note this fascinating illustration and paraphrase of the power of Christ’s mentoring. “The church in Jerusalem grew overnight from about 120 to 3,000. (Acts 2:41 NLT) Soon the number of men in the Jerusalem church had grown to about 5,000, so with women and children, the total was up to 15,000 or so. (Acts 4:4 NLT) After that, the number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem. (Acts 6:7 NLT) All the explosive growth took place without a single building program.” (Ray Bowman & Eddy Hall, When Not to Build An Architect’s Unconventional Wisdom for the Growing Church).

Scripture tells us to: “Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:20-21 NIV)

Take a minute to think and pray for those who mentor you.  What have you learned? What are their qualifications and why did you choose them to be your mentors? Then, take another minute and ask yourself who looks to you as a mentor.  Why did they choose you and what are you teaching them?

Leadership is being a mentor and receiving mentorship from a trusted friend.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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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

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Leadership Is Taking Prescriptions #285

Here’s a frightening reality of our attitude to personal and church health.

Let me illustrate. You don’t feel well. You feel unhealthy, lethargic and know that something isn’t right. Something hurts or maybe a bone is broken. Maybe we need surgery. The next logical step is to visit a trained professional for advice, recommendation or solution. You visit your Doctor, Health Clinic or Hospital. We receive the prescription, exercise routine, referral or plan for surgery. What happens next?

Here’s the reality. Thirty percent of us don’t follow through on the advice and don’t bother going to the Pharmacy to pick up the prescription. A further thirty percent of us run to the Pharmacy to pick up the prescription but don’t take it correctly or consistently.  Another thirty percent buy the prescription but leave it on the shelf. That leaves ten percent of us that follow through and implement the advice.

Let’s consider the typical church. Internal surveys indicate that 70% of churches do not consider themselves to be healthy. The power of an internal culture (the way we do it around here) can be so strong that the church is unaware or unwilling to implement a solution or change strategy.

Denominational Executives concur that typically only 30% to 40% of churches are healthy. Denominations assess the health of a church or a region of churches with a variety of methods. Some look at financial standing, others count attendance, percentage of volunteers or staff turnover. One of the most fascinating stats is to look at the percentage of the annual budget that goes to missions and outreach activities compared to what is spent internally. The most biblical way to assess the Spiritual health of a church is to count salvation decisions.

Leaders have a lot of dedication, and enthusiasm. However, just like people taking a medication or professional advice, we sometimes lose our enthusiasm, dedication and follow through.

At your next Leadership meeting, ask yourself and your associates to prayerfully consider what you and your team could do to improve the health of your church.

Leadership is praying and implementing God’s plan.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is Sharing God’s Love With A Timothy #284

Our Adult Sunday school teacher asked how many of us could lead a friend to Christ without a Bible in hand. The frightening reality is that only a quarter of us in class that morning responded positively. How would you respond? Could you lead a friend to Christ without your Bible in hand?

Billy Graham used a paraphrase built on, 2 Timothy 2:2.  “This is like a mathematical formula for spreading the gospel and enlarging the church. Paul taught Timothy. Timothy shared what he knew with faithful men. And the faithful men were supposed to teach others also. And so the process goes on. If every believer followed this pattern, the church could reach the entire world in one generation. Mass crusades in which I believe and to which I have committed my life will never accomplish the Great Commission; one-on-one relationships will.” (Billy Graham, The Holy Spirit)

I asked four of my favorite Ministry people what each of us should do to be more Christ-like. We talked about the style, the technique the difference between the way I was taught and the way my Millennial and Gen Z friends speak about Christ.

I came away with 9 key phrases that if we lived them would dramatically improve our role in letting our world know Christ.

I’ll frame these with questions. Are you and I:

  • Known as a people of integrity?
  • Known to be sensitive?
  • Good listeners?
  • Involved with friends who live and believe different?
  • Demonstrating God’s love in all our relationships?
  • Showing a positive relationship with our family and friends?
  • Living examples of God’s love?
  • Loving our neighbours as ourselves?
  • Involved in our community?

We will see the world wide impact. But it starts with you and me. Today!

“When it comes to evangelism and discipleship, obedience is a big deal. It’s not an extra credit item. It’s not the gold standard. It’s the only standard”

Mission Creep

Leadership is showing God’s love wherever you are.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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