Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."
And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit.

7.13.2014

Leadership is Four Things

In my experience, leadership can be defined in four ways:


  1. Influence - The ability to change the thinking, behavior, and desires of others.  Influence can be seen clearly in a leader by observing the people following the leader, are they taking their cues from the leader or not?
  2. Responsibility - The willingness to take ownership over a situation, problem, task, goal, person, or community.  Responsibility is seen as a leader simply does what needs to be done, or arranges to have it done by orchestrating and delegating to others.
  3. Confrontation - The ability to say what needs to be said in spite of how unpopular it might be.  Confrontation can be rejecting a poor proposal, pointing out improper thinking and behavior, or bringing an optimist back down to earth with some difficult facts.
  4. Vision - The ability to see things that do not yet exist.  Vision is ultimately an orientation towards the future that some people possess in more or less quantity than others.


All four of these characteristics are possessed in some measure by all people, and so it is fair to talk about leadership existing on a spectrum.  On one end are those individuals who are only capable of one or more of these character traits in fits and spurts and only when asked to do so by others, or when circumstances force it upon them.  In the middle are those individuals who can learn to exhibit these traits, and can ultimately grow into capable leaders.  On the other end are those gifted leaders who do these things in their sleep, they aren't capable of turning it off, they simply lead naturally.

Of course, we should be clear, this is not what godly leadership looks like, simply what leadership is.  Godly leadership must lead in a direction that honors God, and do so with a character, a posture, and an attitude that reflects Gods ultimate authority.  Indeed, godly leadership can perhaps be defined by reading through St. Pauls letter to the Corinthian church and the famous chapter defining love.

6.24.2014

A Biblical Praxis

We are really doing our best to live our lives according to Scripture… so when the Bible is clear about how to live, we just act accordingly.  For example, when we read 2 Corinthians 13:12, we are admonished to "greet one another with a holy kiss."  



…how "biblical" are you?

6.05.2014

Orthopathy

Orthopathy is a great word, it has now entered my lexicon.  But the concept is not new...

St Augustine taught that the essence of Christian discipleship was developing 'rightly ordered love.'  In essence we have to learn what to love, and how to love, in ways that are consistent with the love of God, as a catalyst for orthodoxy and orthopraxy, and as the fulfillment of them.

Indeed, St Peter wrote that 'love covers a multitude of sins' (ie orthpathy is more important than othopraxy) and Jesus Himself taught that the repentant sinner is better than the righteous Pharisee who doesn't need repentance (ie orthopathy is superior to orthopraxy AND orthodoxy).  Jesus quotes the OT Scriptures that say the same thing, "I desire mercy and not sacrifice."

5.21.2014

Radical

"Often times people will tweak the existing model and think that this makes them radical."

Shannon Callan

5.15.2014

Dating Advice to Gorillas and Poodles

One of the pressing issues facing the church today is the lack of unity. (OK so its been an issue for 2,000 years!) And one of the difficulties in working towards unity is the inherent pain that is caused when those who have power and privilege in the church try to 'help' those churches who lack power and privilege.  In particular, I am thinking of large, wealthy, middle/upper-class suburban churches that feel a calling to 'help the poor,' whether that is the poor in the urban slum nearby, or the third-world nation across the water.

A friend and I had a conversation where we compared that to a dating relationship between a gorilla and a poodle. The reality is that, no matter how much of a gentleman the gorilla is, if the gorilla is in charge, the poodle isn't going to fare very well. It is simply inherent in the power dynamic between the two.

So here is some advice to those of us in the church who are poodles dating gorillas, or vice-versa.

To the poodle:

1) God has brought the gorilla into your life (He makes poodles and gorillas for a reason and wants them to live together in harmony), submit to God in this and you will discover the strength of the gorilla at work on your behalf.

2) Don't be afraid to tell the gorilla when it hurts you. Feel free to call sin, "sin." But recognize that there IS a difference between intentional and unintentional harm.

3) Don't be afraid to take the lead with the gorilla. You need to teach the gorilla a different way of doing ministry.

4) You don't get to tell the gorilla to go away, or that it has nothing to offer. You need what the gorilla has to offer (above and beyond its sheer size and strength), and the gorilla has things to teach YOU about doing ministry.

To the gorilla:

1) You are not God's gift to the poodle. This is your greatest problem, you confuse your size and power with godliness, faithfulness, and effectiveness in the Kingdom. Repent.

2) Show up and help the poodle, but let the poodle tell you what help it needs! Be patient, poodles aren't used to polite gorillas, and have a history of being either ignored, patronized, or brutalized by gorillas. Be patient! Let the poodle take the lead. Offer suggestions, but ultimately let the poodle be the boss, and be patient. Remember, there IS a difference between hurting the poodle on accident and doing it on purpose, but if you are the poodle they both hurt exactly the same!

3) Show up to learn. Don't presume you know how to live like a poodle just because you are a gorilla. The poodles lack of size and strength has taught it to rely on God in ways you will never know. The poodle has a perspective that you cannot have because of your own perspective. Learn from the poodle.

4) Keep showing up and keep making the resources you do have available to the poodle. Offer your insight, your organization, your expertise, your strength, your size. Don't go away, and don't return to a lifestyle of ignoring the poodle, even if the poodle bites you! Remember, the poodle is biting you because you are hurting it! Keep offering your services, but don't forget point #2!!!

To both the gorilla and the poodle:

1) God made you both. That means you are of equal value. Each of you is necessary, which means you are both important in and of yourself AND you both need the other!

2) Be yourself. Don't try to be each other.

3) Love each other. It is a command AND it is wisdom.

5.13.2014

Generosity and Ownership

Nothing that you have not given away will ever truly be yours.

C. S. Lewis