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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Leadership Is Growing Your Church with Dynamic Teams #283

Effective leaders design and lead dynamic teams. These awesome teams build great churches by prioritizing Scriptural principles, people development and then program and organizational change. As the Leaders grow the people will follow.

Your dynamic teams will inspire each of their people to pray, seek God’s face and grow their church. The 80/20 rule (Pareto’s principle) suggests we get 80% of our results from 20% of our activities. Put it another way, 20% of your activities are responsible for producing a full 80% of your results. The beauty and challenge of this little formula is to concentrate on the work that really has an impact on your goals, then, reduce activities that don’t produce the results.

Church change and growth strategies have less to do with the latest dynamic program and more to do with prayer and relationships. As our Teams, Life Groups and Ministries work together, lives of character influence our family, friends and community.

“Most church growth occurs because a church effectively ministers to people’s needs. Its focus is on people”. (Ray Bowman and Eddy Hall, When Not to Build) The point is not to downplay programs. We need our programs. Yet, we have a responsibility to work with and build up our skills to ensure our programs are more effective.

Scripture tells us, For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” (Romans 12:4-5 NIV)

“Google commissioned their internal human resources team to identify and rate the attributes of their best leaders. They were surprised to find that technical knowledge rated dead last.  Instead, attributes like listening well and letting employees make relevant decisions attracted and kept the best people.” (Joe Manby in Love Works)

“He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow. So that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” (Ephesians 4:16 NLT)

Leadership is listening to and building up people.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is Honestly and Seriously Praying Daily #282

It was a fascinating devotional at our church Board meeting this week. My good friend and trusted business professional opened with a short personal message about changing his prayer life.

The rest of us listened intently while we reviewed a few scripture verses. Then, he said that in the past his prayer life seemed to focus on telling God about his issues at work, home, church and our community.

He had our attention. We could identify. He was describing all of us. In fact the research indicates that the average Christian prays three times a day. Sounds like praying before breakfast, lunch and supper.

My good friend went on to illustrate, “we need to get excited about prayer … everything is dependent on God … prayer is an obligation … as leaders, we need to pray.” (Francis Chan) Then, he used the most dramatic phrase. My friend further suggested that the “church whose Board members don’t pray for an hour a day is a church that has problems”.

There was silence at our table.

“I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.” (Ezekiel 22:30 NIV)

My friend then committed himself to honestly and consistently pray and seek God’s face in prayer for an hour each day.

The rest of our Board meeting was fascinating as we prayerfully shared our own prayer struggles. The potential benefits to our church and community would be phenomenal if all of us as Board members would pray for an hour each day. Then, as leaders we would set the example for all the people in our church to allocate time to pray every day.

“If you pray for leaders; if you have a heart to develop, lead, and empower people; if you’ve got a God-given vision, God will give according to your heart’s desires.”

(John Maxwell, Leadership Journal)

Leadership is an active and consistent prayer life.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is Realizing We Are Broken Mortals #281

The Boy

Before they left, they gathered supplies. Tools, firewood, and provisions for the journey. The young boy watched the preparation. His family gathered the things they would need, lashing them to the animals for the trip. His people had moved before, some would say often. City to city, town to town. Moving to where there is food, or work, or relatives, but the boy had never been anywhere but here. Today he would see. Today he would be traveling with the adults.

He had his own pack to carry. His mom had packed up some berries, dried meat and bread. They were heading off on a three day journey. The boy wondered if they would make him walk the whole way? He wondered if he could walk the whole way. He determined at that moment that he would do whatever was asked of him. It was a privilege to be a part of this journey.

The man looked at his son, with his pack. He struggled to keep his emotions at bay. It was going to be a long journey for the boy. They would have to keep up their pace or this journey would take a week. There would be some amazing things for him to see. Sunsets, rivers to cross, hills to climb. Enough adventure to keep his young mind occupied. There would be campfires and stargazing. Camping in crazy places with the sound of wild animals just beyond the reaches of firelight.

Like all Fathers, he wondered to himself. What will we talk about? Will he have questions I can’t answer? Should I be looking for ways to fill the long hours? What wisdom do I hold that could hold his attention? I am a simple man. My whole life has been rather dull. There was that one time, maybe that’s not a story for him yet.

The boy stood as they gathered at the edge of town. It was the time for goodbyes and hugs. He thought to himself, Mom’s hug seems especially long. She is crying a lot. Why didn’t she hug Father? She didn’t even look at him. Girls are weird, I’m never getting married.

With that thought, he turned and began the journey.

An excerpt from Broken Mortals: A Journey of Hope, by Rev. Chet Kennedy

Leadership is seeing God at work in us as broken mortals.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is A Healthy Leader #280

Remember Caleb and Joshua? Moses sent them into the Promised Land with a task force of other leaders. Their assignment was to explore the land, to check the people, see if the cities were walled or fortified and check out the soil. Does the land have trees and please bring back some samples of the fruit. The explorers returned from the Promised Land and shared the bountiful harvest and incredible opportunities in the land. They brought reports and samples of fruit and the bountiful harvest. “They cut off a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. Two of them carried it on a pole between them, along with some pomegranates and figs.” (Numbers 13:23 NIV)

Scripture challenges us, just like Caleb and Joshua challenged the people.

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3 NIV)

Haggai encourages us to consider our ways (plans systems, activities) to see if they are working, “the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai. “Give careful thought to your ways!” (Haggai 1:3 + 7 NIV)

Paul tells us, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal.” (Philippians 3:13-14 NIV)

We have churches, worship services, Bible studies, Devotional sessions and Life Group meetings all over our world. We have staff and volunteers who want to serve. Our community and world needs Christ. We are trained to introduce a person to a relationship with Christ.

“Leaders have incredible opportunity to impact lives. Build into people like they are on your team forever.”(Pat Gelsinger, H3 Leadership)

It is a special honour. We each have the best role in the world. We get to share with people wherever we live, travel and work. Let’s each demonstrate God’s love in everything we do this week.

Leadership is touching the lives of leaders in your community.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is Hearing God’s Calling #279


The life changing question was raised, I had seconds to respond. It was an awesome evening. The Northern Alberta sky was filled with colorful moving curtains of Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis). The moonlight illuminated thousands of snow covered pine and spruce trees. Our son, sitting in the back of our van said “Dad, what would you think if I became a Youth Pastor?”

I had a second to think. He would live in a fish bowl. He would not have consistent hours of work.  He would be at the beck and call of hundreds of youth and their parents. My response was, “you always need to follow God’s call and you’ll have our full support and encouragement”.

“God called me into Youth Ministry, on a yellow school bus, when I was 14 years old. Every school day my brother, sister and I would get on a yellow school bus and travel from our home. I got picked on. A lot. The thing I remember most clearly about that day is asking God, why are kids in small towns so mean? 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.” (Rev. Chet Kennedy, Broken Mortals)

“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.” (Broken Mortals by Rev. Chet Kennedy)

God’s influence is the transformation. The metamorphosis of a tadpole into a frog or the caterpillar into a butterfly. The new creature doesn’t remember, resemble or have any desire or ability to return to the former life. God had a plan and Chet was in it.

Today, Chet is a praying Youth Guy. As the Executive Director of Camp Chamisall in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. He directs, works with the Board, speaks at churches and does Youth Retreats across Western Canada. He confirms, “Camp is the best place for kids to come to know our Lord. Every teen’s parents, grandparents, relatives and Pastors are praying. They pray for the teen before, during and after camp. Every teen is surrounded by prayer for those days.

Watch for his eBook, Broken Mortals by Rev. Chet Kennedy to be released soon.

Leadership is hearing and following God’s calling.

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

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