Leadership is… Serving

It is an awesome privilege to coach leaders. Every leader is crafted in God’s image with a plan in place before birth. God designed each leader with unique gifts, skills and experiences providing a mosaic of latent ability to accomplish His purpose.

Ministry leaders have a wonderful calling. They demonstrate God’s love to other leaders, volunteers and friends. Christ demonstrated his leadership through service by setting an example. Note, “…Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve…” (Matthew 20:26-28)
Leaders, we are at a decision point. We cannot lead by tradition and ‘the way we’ve always done it’. It isn’t working. Haggai suggests we need to “Consider your ways” (Haggai 1:3). Christ confirms, “no one can serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24). We need Biblically based Servant Leaders who are effective. The sometimes leading, sometimes following, indecision style that leads with control or the guru of the month club doesn’t work. Christ said, “Every kingdom (church, business, corporation, family) divided against itself will be ruined” (Matthew 12:25).

Servant Leadership is alive and healthy in many church and business settings.  These value driven organizations recognize the individual gifts of their people. The service they provide is a priority and foremost in their thinking. Their vision, values and policies are infused with Servant Leadership. They live, breathe and duplicate themselves through loving and caring service.

Prisoners of Hope, Dayna Curry and Heather Mercer were asked, “But aren’t you really going to Afghanistan to try to convert people to Christianity? Isn’t the work with the poor just a way into people’s lives so you can preach to them?” Their response is typical of the Servant Leader, “the word ‘convert’ does not accurately reflect our intentions; it implies something vaguely manipulative, even dishonest. What we wanted to do was serve the Afghan people because we felt God had put a special love for them in our hearts”.

Leadership is serving.  The effective Servant Leader is consistent, future driven, results oriented and has positive character skills.  Effective leadership begins with each small transformational step toward Servant Leadership.

Look at your work and decisions today.  Are you serving?
Yours in Service,
Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach

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Leadership is… Prayer, Heart, Vision and Values

Nehemiah was a layman, a civil servant, one of King Artaxerxes’ most trusted servants.  Tradition suggests the Cupbearer was young, articulate, knowledgeable and physically fit. As the King’s Cupbearer, he protected his boss by sampling the food and wine.  

Nehemiah’s brothers visited and shared that his city had problems, the walls were broken. The city of his people was in desolation. Nehemiah was concerned, his face and countenance showed it. However, concern alone was not enough. He made a decision to pray and seek God’s guidance. He waited for God’s timing and asked King Artaxerxes for his personal credit card to get wood from the King’s forest, safe passage to rebuild the walls and to return his beloved city to a place of commerce and spiritual beliefs.

Nehemiah’s success in building the wall is likely due as much to his care and concern for people as his building acumen. His emotional strength is demonstrated by his heart-felt love and concern for his brethren back home. He mourned, fasted and prayed day and night for them for four months.
Nehemiah pondered and referred to the things God had put in his heart. He used strong emotion in his prayer when he asked God to, “…give them over as plunder in a land of captivity. Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins” (Nehemiah 4:4). Nehemiah set a tremendous example of his value and belief in prayer. He continually prayed before and during times of stress and decision “For some days… I prayed” (1:4-10). Nehemiah knew his power and strength came from God. He had a personal relationship with God. He looked to God for advice, resource and strength on a continual basis. The wall was completed in fifty two days and the whole project was such a success that even his enemies knew that it was done with the help of God (6:16).
Nehemiah didn’t need the latest Management guru. He led from his heart. With all the decisions, pressures and challenges leaders face in today’s world, we would do well to do the same. Chris Crane in his book Executive Influence says, “The next great movement in Christianity is demonstration. If we want people to believe in Jesus Christ, then we Christians must behave differently.”
Leadership is looking to your heart, defining your vision through prayer and living your leadership role according to your values. God had a plan for Nehemiah and his people and He has a plan for you.
What does God have in mind for you today?

Yours in Service
Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach


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Leadership is… Monitoring

I worked with a Chief Medical Officer in a large hospital setting.  His knowledge, skill and ability was impressive.  He put his patients first and excelled in his drive for quality. His favorite phrase was, “if it isn’t written down, it didn’t happen!”  Interesting point.  He wasn’t interested in gossip, hearsay, hope-so or thought-so.  He only wanted to read the data and see the charts.

Let me parallel this with a consultant I worked with.  His unique phrase was, “you can tell what is important to a leader, a church or a business by looking at what is recorded, charted and monitored”.  If the leaders are not monitoring the results, they really don’t care.

So leaders, what is important to you?  You monitor your gas gauge.  You check your credit card and bank statement. You design a budget and work to follow it. You save for a holiday and monitor investments.  As a leader at church, volunteer association, not-for- profit or business, what do you monitor?  What is reviewed at Board meetings?  What data do you pray about and make decisions on?

Chap Clark and Kara Powell in Deep Ministry in a Shallow World illustrate, “All good farmers evaluate the state of their crops — and if they’re being choked by weeds or drowned by floods, farmers don’t comfort themselves by remembering previous bountiful crops. They roll up their sleeves, investigate new tools and develop fresh strategies to produce better harvests. They know that if their crops aren’t healthy, the end is near.”

Proverbs 27:23 confirms: “Be sure you know the condition of our flocks, give careful attention to your herds…” You couldn’t imagine a farmer not checking on his crops, herds or an orchard owner not looking on the quality of his fruit and vegetables.

Every church I’ve worked with takes attendance on a Sunday morning.  But, very few do anything with this data.  Every Monday, each Pastor should receive a report on the number of people in attendance on Sunday, the total offering, the number of visitors, numbers of Home Groups, Baptisms, Salvation decisions and community activities. It is not a coincidence that the boards of healthy churches review data in a chart format at each and every Board meeting.  Healthy Boards want to know the health of their church.

Leadership is monitoring, asking the hard questions and making decisions based on current data compared to the vision and goals.

As a leader, what do you monitor consistently?

Yours in Service,
Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach

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Leadership is… Values

My former career was in the pressure cooker of Health Care.  It was a minefield. Positive individual care was a priority while staying within budget. Staff rights were balanced with responsibility and integrity while Board members’ demands often contrasted a union agreement. The job required the strategic thinking of Winston Churchill, the negotiating skills of Henry Kissinger and the leadership ability of Peter Drucker.

My leadership training was similar to other CEO’s.  We were taught to hire, hold accountable, counsel, discipline and terminate. We planned strategically, set achievable goals, organized and re-engineered.  We set visions to ensure every client was a valued customer while upholding the guiding principles written on the sleeves of our sweatshirts.  We designed seamless services.  We thought inside and outside the box and pretended the box didn’t exist.  I’ve been taught, Maslow and his Hierarchy of needs, Lewin’s Democratic, Autocratic and Laissez-faire styles.  I’ve used Blake & Moulton on the managerial grid and Tannenbaum & Schmidt on the use of Authority and Freedom. I’ve been surveyed by Hersey & Blanchard and have worked with Theory X, Y and Z.  I’ve read The One Minute Manager and Who Moved my Cheese.  The corporate work force taught me a lot. I’m grateful and very thankful.  However, secular leadership is often designed to fill a toolbox with skills to motivate and manipulate others to achieve predetermined goals.

The secular world didn’t teach me to follow, serve and live a life completely transformed by the mind of Christ. I wasn’t taught to see my leadership role as God’s chosen servant with a love for my staff, Board and competitors.  The role of a servant or slave set free and turned into a disciple is not taught in secular business schools.

As a Christian Servant Leader, I strive to integrate my spiritual values on the job. God created me, “in His own image” (Genesis 1:27).  He pre-wired skills, abilities and gifts before my birth.  Jeremiah illustrates, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5) or as David said, “you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13).  God directed Servant Leadership is a transformed life of serving, giving and living the life Christ demonstrated for us.

Leadership is integrating and demonstrating God’s values and principles into our daily lives. It is my prayer that our Lord will guide you and me to be completely transformed to his image and to a leadership style that puts Christ and His service first.

What values drive your decisions?
Yours in Service,
Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach

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