Browsing: Character

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… 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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Leadership Is… Standing in the Gap #295

“Leaders are found everywhere. Demographics pay no role in whether or not someone is going to become an exemplary leader. Leadership is not a birthright. It’s not about position or title. It’s not about power or authority. It’s not about celebrity or wealth. It’s not about being a CEO, president, general, or prime minister. It’s not about being a superstar. And it’s most assuredly not about some charismatic gift. Leadership is not about who you are or where you came from. It’s about what you do.” (Kouzes, Posner, The Truth about Leadership)

Leadership is for today. The skills, abilities and character traits are readily available for those who choose and are willing to challenge the status quo and stand up to be counted.

Leaders are informed. They read, listen and learn. Their skill, knowledge and expertise increases as the topic moves closer to their area of specialty. When recruiting staff and volunteers, they look for competence in skill, character and personality. Leaders are motivated and excited about the future. They guide their people, followers and organizations towards a positive outcome. They realize talent is scarce and will encourage others to achieve success in their own lives. They strive for a balance where employee/volunteers receive a personal benefit by working with an organization and the organization receives a similar benefit by employing the individual.

The effective leader follows an ethical standard. Their personal values are consistent, supported and integrated within the organization they lead. They are strategic in their decisions. They evaluate risks depending on the outcome to their people and for the organization.

They serve on Boards to make a lasting contribution. They create job satisfaction.

God is looking for effective leaders. He wanted effective leaders in history, “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). He is still looking for effective leaders today.

Leadership is, knowing your calling and standing in the gap with God.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach

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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

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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

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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

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Leadership Is Shepherd Board Members #267

Laurie KennedyCongratulations, you have been prayerfully asked to be a Board Member at your church or Mission. You are prayerfully considering the role. You know there are regular meetings, you also know there are other members but, what really is your role as a Board member?

“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.” (1 Corinthians 1:10 NIV)

The purpose of the Board is to represent the owner. That’s God! It is His church and mission. As a Board member here are 12 questions to regularly evaluate how effective you are.

  • Do you model spiritual leadership to the congregation?
  • Do you serve with integrity ensuring Board decisions are consistent with God’s word?
  • Do you love Jesus and demonstrate God’s love at home and work?
  • Do you pray consistently for your Ministry Staff, People and the church as a whole?
  • Do you provide encouragement and accountability to the Lead Pastor?
  • Do you represent the church, not your personal interests?
  • Do you encourage the established Vision, Mission and Values of the church?
  • Do you commit to the financial and volunteer needs of your church?
  • Do you actively memorize scripture?
  • Do you visit and communicate with individuals/couples within your church?
  • Do you shepherd and care for your people as the Biblical shepherd cared for his sheep?
  • Do you disciple people to know Christ better?

“Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 MSG)

Leadership is … praying and implementing God’s will for His church.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach


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Leadership Is Integrity #265

Laurie KennedyIntegrity is the foremost value of the Christian Servant leader. “In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness” (Titus 2:7 NIV).

A dictionary defines integrity as; “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. The synonyms are; honesty, honor, good character, principle(s), ethics, morals, righteousness, morality, virtue, decency, fairness, scrupulousness.”

“Leadership is about integrity, honesty and accountability.  Leadership comes from telling us not what we want to hear, but rather what we need to hear.  To be a true leader, to engender deep trust and loyalty, starts with telling the truth.” (Leaders Eat Last, Simon Sinek)

Integrity is personal, organizational and value based. What is right goes beyond the rules, politics, vision and mission of organizations to define the standard. The challenge for leaders is confirmed, “ethical standards are largely defined by the leadership. Leadership sets the moral tone of the team.” (Jack Kahl, Leading from the Heart)

Leaders are being scrutinized today more than ever before. Staff, volunteers, customers or those attending your church have expectations. These expectations need to be honored. It doesn’t matter your level of education, competence or experience. Our followers will only be dedicated to someone they trust.

“History is filled with examples of men who, though they were gifted beyond the ordinary, saw their labors brought to nothing because they were lacking in character,” (What is a Man? Waller R. Newell) History is repeating itself as our daily news profiles leaders who have tripped and lost over character issues. “The simple truth is this: there is a crisis of confidence in leadership.” (Joel Manby, Love Works)

Integrity is fundamental to the skill and ability of great leaders. We must integrate it into every aspect of our lives. It’s more important than anything else. Skill is important. Education and experience are important but nothing shows effective leadership more than integrity.

Leadership is … demonstrating God’s love by our character, our integrity and our willingness to live a Christ-like life daily.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach


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Leadership Is Ethical Choices # 253

Laurie KennedyAs a Christian Leader, what would you do?

“Most of the top executives were tried for fraud after it was revealed in November 2001 that Enron’s earnings had been overstated by several hundred million dollars. Enron paid the top 140 executives $680 million in 2001.” (CNN April 2016)

“The irony, he adds, is that ‘integrity’ was listed as one of Enron’s four core beliefs. A select group of Enron executives embraced a philosophy so far from traditional ethics that they ended up adopting a lifestyle completely contrary to their company’s stated beliefs on integrity,” (Mark Wingfield, Baptist Standard)

The Police stopped a Christian for rolling through a stop sign. She complained on Social Media that she considers this harassment and is considering fighting the ticket.

A Christian technician tells his associate, they could finish the job in 10 minutes.  Or, if they finish it in 20 minutes, they could claim an hour of overtime pay.

Police stop a car speeding to church on Sunday morning. The Christian driver considers fighting the ticket due to religious persecution because of the number of churches on that road.

A Christian Consultant, during new staff orientation, tells new Christian Employee to put his conscience on hold and claim everything he can get away with on his Expense Account.

Not expecting snow and cold, a friend visits her family in another province. She is encouraged to go buy a coat, wear it for the few days while visiting, then return it stating it didn’t fit.

“There was just such a radical gap between what we heard Christians professing they believed and the values and the lifestyle that grew out of the values.” (George Barna, Christianity Today)

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17 NIV)

What would you do?

Leadership is … going beyond the expected, tradition and ‘what’s best for me’ to a consistent value of what is right.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach

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