Browsing: Excellence

Leadership Is… A Servant Led Church #302

Paul uses a practical construction analogy, “In him, the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord”. (Ephesians 2:21 NIV) You wouldn’t want to live and work within a building that is poorly constructed. The risks are obvious. Yet, many of us work in organizational environments that are ineffective.

The corporate world has been shaken with CEO’s and CFO’s who re-arrange budget and resources for their own benefit. “People value honesty and integrity in a leader more than anything else. Virtually every person they talked with placed integrity at the top of the leadership wish list.”  (James Kouzes and Barry Posner, quoted by Perkins in Awaken the Leader Within) The Servant led church integrates a service philosophy with integrity. Every member is encouraged to live a life of honesty, truthfulness and integrity. This is a church the world will notice.

The Servant led church is a learning and growing organism. It is characterized by a collective unity and interdependence of each individual and team. The teams define their goals, are delegated a budget and resources, and are accountable to each other and the overall Vision. Leadership, decision making, planning and goal setting are shared, not held by the faithful few. The Servant led church knows its own strengths, weaknesses and the gifts of its people. It also knows the power of people working tougher effectively, “Two can accomplish more than twice as much as one.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9 TLB)

The Servant led church reduces the emphasis on the power hierarchy while encouraging team work and a service role for each leader. Each leader would interact within a team. The teams would be composed of divergent thinking people, different ages, different occupations, and ideally different cultures. Each would be committed to the Vision, working independently, yet supporting each other. Although the teams may appear leaderless, the leader is the Vision and the team works the mission as a group of equals.

Is your church a Servant led church?

Leadership is … serving individually and collectively. 

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach

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Leadership Is A Thriving Pastor #259

Laurie Kennedy“Protestant clergy have the highest overall work-related stress and are next to the lowest in having personal resources to cope with the occupational strain.” (Journal of Clinical Psychology, Resilient Ministry by Bob Burns, Tasha D. Chapman and Donald C. Guthrie)

The Jethro Group, under our Vision of “Healthy Leaders: Leading, Serving and Caring with Integrity”, focuses on Pastors every October. Your Pastor is one of those very unique individuals who leads and cares. With the right support, Pastors have the potential to achieve phenomenal change in our families, our churches and communities for God’s glory.

It is a privilege to laugh, pray and cry with Pastors. My work includes everything from recruiting, training, encouraging, caring, advising through difficulties, discipline and counselling out.

As a leader, ask yourself how often you:

  • Listen, really listen for your Pastor’s heart.
  • Pray consistently for your Pastor.
  • Defend your Pastor when others criticize.
  • Talk to your kids about what you learned from your Pastor.
  • Give your Pastor a gift card.
  • Tell your Pastor what you learned from Scripture this week.
  • Talk with your Pastor about demonstrating God’s love at your work.
  • Encourage your Pastor for their involvement in the community that you both live in.
  • Remember that your Pastor is human and has good days and challenging ones.
  • Ask your Pastor about their Spiritual Gifts and their dreams for your church.
  • Remember that your Pastor hears, deals with and carries the challenges of many people.
  • Ask your Pastors what keeps them awake at night, then agree to pray for and with them.
  • Ask your Pastor to pray with you for the individual that you are mentoring.

“Give a bonus to leaders who do a good job, especially the ones who work hard at preaching and teaching.” Scripture tells us, “Don’t muzzle a working ox” and “A worker deserves his pay.” (1 Timothy 5:17-18 MSG)

Leadership is supporting your Ministry staff to accomplish God’s Vision.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach

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Leadership Is Prayerful Group Decisions #258

Laurie Kennedy“…Forgetting what is behind, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14 NIV)

It is Annual Report time for many churches. Your Treasurer and finance people will prepare a financial update. Your department leaders will prepare a short summary of Annual activities. Your Pastor will prayerfully review the year. All will be combined into a booklet called the Annual Report. Most members in your church will review it and put it on the shelf along with last years’ report. The fascinating and frightening reality is that most Annual Reports, year after year, look and read identically. Then, in the New Year we do the same activities as in previous years. Repeating the same successes and challenges of the previous years.

Pastors, Leaders let’s try something different this year. Ask your Ministry staff and volunteer leaders to respond to these 8 questions when preparing their reports. The first point is a given and obvious.

  1. Did we consistently stand firm on our Bible based understanding of God’s word?
  2. What successes were achieved in your area of responsibility?
  3. What didn’t work?
  4. What did we learn from the challenges faced in your department?
  5. What led to the successes and disappointments?
  6. What can we do differently next year to achieve more success and less challenge?
  7. Did all our activities lead to the Vision, Mission and Values that our church stands for?
  8. Where can we share and cooperate to achieve more of God’s plan for next year.

My prayer for the church and mission leaders that I work with is that Annual Reports become decision making documents. Your Annual Report should be a prayerful formal review that leads to definitive decision making to honestly improve the overall health of your Ministry.

Leadership is … prayerfully improving the health of our churches each and every year.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach

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Leadership Is Loving Your Visitors #257

Laurie Kennedy“Mr. Kennedy, right now you are the most important person in my life.” (Call Centre Technician) With my computer glitch fixed, I wondered if visitors to our churches feel important.

We live in a wonderful small city with a population of 19,000 that is considered one of the best eleven cities in Canada. We have five Grocery stores and thirty five churches. One grocery store opened a month ago. Do we really need another Grocery store?  Each store provides similar if not identical services. The same name and local brands, a Pharmacy, Meat Department, Bakery, Household goods and free dial and pick service. Notice I’ve just described the new grocery store as identical to the others. Yet, this new Grocery story is having a major impact on our city. The difference? Not the price, not the product, not even the location.

Trying to differentiate a Grocery store is a little like describing many of the churches I visit. Each church has a foyer, a sanctuary, meeting rooms, Sunday school space, offices, pulpit, singing, announcements, a bulletin, offering and a sermon. The similarities are endless.

Returning to our Grocery stores. Our newest Grocery store is almost identical to the other stores except for a significant difference. Every staff member in the new store is smiling, friendly and encouraging. You cannot drop in for one item or get a cart full without noticing staff smiling, encouraging and offering to help. Staff are taught that when they love their role and demonstrate it, customers will come back. It’s working, our new store is thriving.

Returning to our churches. When visitors leave your church, do they feel important? Do they feel welcomed? Are your staff, volunteers and regulars trained to make visitors feel important?

Just like a ship in motion, every church leaves a wake. Does the wake left by your church encourage visitors to feel important? Your staff and volunteers need to treat each visitor like the shepherd who left the ninety nine to care for the one. Your visitor could be the one.

Leadership is ensuring visitors feel important.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach

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Leadership Is Achievable by Excelling in These Skills

Laurie KennedyWhat skills do you need to be excel? Your strengths and weaknesses will be influenced by your spiritual gifts, your current situation and what you want to do in the future. Hence, your reading, study and practice will make or break your Ministry. Note these five unique and critical skill sets Healthy Leaders work with.

  • Accurate interpretation of Scripture and Denomination imperatives.
  • Skilled Ministry Leaders ensure consistent and effective communication with their people. Our future leaders will work hard and be informed about their organization and its impact on our world. Communication must flow positively in both directions.
  • Flexibility in daily routines is necessary, within the Vision and Values. The changing and uncertain economic times will not tolerate doing a task simply because it has always been done that way.
  • Leaders must be accessible. The hidden decision maker will not be tolerated. Questions need to be answered. Staff and followers require confidence in their leader to maintain organizational health. Tomorrow’s leaders will be visible and approachable.
  • Leaders will be responsible for their personal performance and that of their Ministry. They will know what is going on, have a strong grasp of operations and will ensure positive relationships. The changing power of public opinion will force the leader to know their area of responsibility and accept legal responsibility for it.

The amazing thing about these five skill sets is, they are achievable by all of us. It takes some extra work, increased reading, study in key areas and consistent implementation. Excelling in these skills may not guarantee a future executive suite in a mega church, but it will definitely improve your present and future job potential.

Leadership is … continuously improving your skill set.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
Jethro Group

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Leadership Is Celebrating.

Laurie KennedyEffective leaders celebrate, not to recognize themselves, but to praise God and encourage others.

Moses celebrated. “We will go with our young and our old, with our sons and our daughters, and with our flocks and herds, because we are to celebrate a festival to the Lord” (Exodus 10:9 NIV).

Nehemiah and his people celebrated. “At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, the Levites were sought out from where they lived and were brought to Jerusalem to celebrate joyfully the dedication with songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, harps and lyres”. “The sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away” (Nehemiah 12:27 & 43 NIV).

I toured Wycliffe Bible Translators, Canadian headquarters, with my first and favorite missionary friend, Jack Popjes. Jack is a 24-year-veteran Bible translator in Brazil and former Executive Director of Wycliffe. He pointed to a large bell in the corner of their coffee break room. Wycliffe celebrates when a New Testament or full Bible translation has been published by ringing the bell. Headquarters staff gather to see the Book waved triumphantly, to sing praise songs and thank our Lord for the accomplishment.

Every day, 43 Albertans hear the words, “you have cancer”. These are not just statistics. These are our neighbors, our friends, our loved ones.

The Cross Cancer Institute is the comprehensive cancer centre for Northern Alberta. The Cross Cancer Institute is a leading centre for the province-wide prevention, research and treatment program. The centre provides inpatient and outpatient services for cancer patients, advanced medical and supportive cancer care, and patient and professional education. The Cross Cancer Institute conducts research through the Alberta Cancer Research Institute to be a world leader in cancer research. (Cross Cancer Website)

Today was a very personal and emotional celebration for me. I stood in the waiting room of the Cross Cancer Institute ringing the bell indicating I had finished my radiation treatments. Yes! Praise our Heavenly Father who has a plan for my life. My personal thanks to my Oncologist, Radiologist, the Regional Cancer specialist, the fantastic staff in Treatment Unit 7 and the receptionist. You see, I’m surviving cancer.

Ringing out

Ring this bell
Three times well
Its toll to clearly say,

My treatment’s done
This course is run
And I am on my way!

— Irve Le Moyne

Leadership is recognizing and celebrating achievements.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
Jethro Group

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Leadership is Statesmanship, Excellence and Integrity

Laurie Kennedy6,900,000 Canadians changed the landscape of Canadian politics. Seventeen million of us were eligible to vote and 68% teamed up and changed our future.

As a Christian Leader, what criteria do you use to make voting decisions? Do you have a bias? Do you vote by tradition? Or, do you follow the popular? God looked for particular men and women when tough leadership decisions were required.

“The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people” (1 Samuel 13:14 NIV)

“Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem, look around and consider, search through her squares.  If you can find but one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth, I will forgive this city” (Jeremiah 5:1 NIV)

“I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall” (Ezekiel 22:30 NIV)

As a Christian Leader, whether voting for public, political or local elections take these points into consideration:

Much is required, “from those to whom much is given, greater is their responsibility” (Luke 12:48 Living Bible)

Not slothful in business, “fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; (Romans 12:11 KJV)

1 Corinthians 10:31 “So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (NIV)

Galatians 5:13 (NIV) “You, my brothers, were called to be free.  But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature rather, serve one another in love”.

Colossians 3:17 (NIV) “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”.

Luke 19:17 (NIV) “Well done, my good servant! His master replied.  Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities”.

Ephesians 6:7-9 (NIV) “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.  And masters, treat your slaves in the same way.  Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him”

Leadership is … demonstrating credibility, people don’t follow your technique, they follow you!

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
Jethro Group

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Leadership Is Praying for Those in Authority

Laurie KennedyPaul told us to pray. I live in Camrose, Alberta. In the last 16 months, I have had the privilege of voting for our City Council, Provincial and Federal Government and a new Ministry position at church. In each of these situations, Scripture was followed, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  This is good, and pleases God” (1 Timothy 2:1 NIV).  

I like to ask Christians who the Mayor, Member of Legislative Assembly and the Member of Parliament are in their community.  They typically know the Mayor’s name but often get confused about who the Provincial and National members are. The best question is asking if they allocate serious time to pray or go to meet their Political representative.

I call the office of the MLA, MP and Mayor once a year and ask for a 20 minute meeting to pray and thank the elected official for the job they are doing. I rarely get turned down. I arrive for the meeting early and re-state I simply want to thank them for the role they play. The political arena is not a fun place to be but everyone wants to be recognized for their role. They will take advantage of the time to tell me about something new that is coming, then often ask me about my job. I never lead with my role; this is not an advertising meeting. Then I ask them if they are OK if I thank God for them. I pray and thank God for the individual and their willingness to accept the demanding and unique role. I confirm with an Amen, stand up, tell them I’ll see them again next year and hold out my hand, then head for the door.

According to Wikipedia, in 2011, 22 million Canadians considered themselves to be Christians. Just imagine the power if all Christians would demonstrate God’s love by encouraging, being nice and praying for those in authority.

Leadership is praying for those who have authority over you.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
Jethro Group

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Leadership is Excelling

Laurie KennedyAn eagle’s egg was put into the nest of a prairie chicken. Sometime later the eaglet hatched and grew up with the young chicks, so the story goes.

Time passed, the eagle learned from his brothers, mother and family to scratch for insects, cackle and fly in a brief thrashing of wings and feathers just a little off the ground.  He fit in very well with his new adopted family.

Years passed.  The adopted eagle grew very old.  On day, he saw a beautiful bird soaring far above him in the sky.  This bird flew, dipped, and glided with power and beauty the adopted eagle had never seen before.

“What a beautiful bird” the eagle said to his adopted brother.  “What is it?”  “That’s an eagle, the chief of the birds,” the brother clicked.  “But don’t give it a thought.  You could never be like him.”

The adopted eagle believed him, lived the rest of his life fitting in, following the crowd and died thinking he was a prairie chicken.

Like the eagle, the potential of the dedicated individual is beyond measure.  Individuals can and will conquer handicaps and impossible circumstances.  The motivation is beyond control, diagnosis or predication.  Its cost is miniscule, its results incalculable.  From the moment of birth though adulthood and retirement, you and your associates are capable of accomplishment beyond previous experience.

What makes the difference?  Why are some workers committed and dedicated while others are under motivated, under worked and dissatisfied?  “Followers never take responsibility, whereas a genuine leader, it’s his main Job Description.” Fortune Magazine, March 2003. As Christian leaders we need to excel “doing it all for the glory of God” 1 Corinthians 10:31.

You may have the potential of an eagle, but you make the choice daily to strive for greater things.  Make the decision to strive for excellence.  Be the very best you can be.

Yours in Service,
Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach

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