Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Will the Real Salvation Army Leader Please Stand up?


Many Salvationists witnessed history in the making. In Melbourne, Victoria, within the awe-inspiring walls of the Melbourne Town Hall, we gave thanks for the life of General Eva Burrows. The testimonies were rich: General Eva, was an amazing, 'indefatigable' woman of God, focused on Jesus with the character to match.

And here's the thing:

We have lost an incredible leader in The Salvation Army.

That goes without saying.

She was someone who Salvationists looked up to; someone who salvos around the world learnt from and were inspired from.

Though, here is the question I want you to ponder. Maybe it's one of the most pertinent questions that Salvationists need to consider the world over.

Who will lead The Salvation Army?

Now, I'm not asking for the most obvious answer: General Andre Cox. That's the surface answer. In organisational terms that is true, and he leads well. God bless the General.

Though, I'm asking a deeper question here. We cannot expect that 'someone else' will simply fill the void of leadership in future years while we continue to play a spectator role in the grander mission of God.

Here is the word that is ringing in my ears and pounding on my heart right now. If it's from the Holy Spirit, then run with it.

If you are Salvo, then what are doing to step up to the leadership call?

Now, I'm not talking about positional authority. You might not have a title. You might not even have hair. I can relate. I'm talking about taking the fire that is in your belly, the covenant that is on your mind and the mission of God that is on your heart and stepping it up ten notches.

Call others to follow Jesus. Call others to innovate and create new expressions of Salvation Army ministry. Challenge people to sign up to soldiership. Lead communities of faith with passion, expectant faith and persistence. Say no to the devil! Say yes to everything God has laid on your heart.

We cannot expect the next season of Salvation Army ministry to be simply carried out by someone else.

Let me cut to the chase. God is calling you to LEAD. So LEAD. Ask the Lord to anoint that which you have to offer and let God multiply the fruitfulness.

We surely best mobilize an Army for Godly service when we each understand the innate giftedness and grace that the Lord Jesus has bestowed upon each one of us.

Now step it up. Get ready for this new season.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

General Eva Burrows - A Tribute to an Exemplary Salvationist

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They called her, 'The People's General.'

Tributes have flowed in following the passing of General Eva Burrows. It was 11:30pm on the 20th March, 2015, that the 85 year old General was promoted to glory.

General Andre Cox has said, 'Salvationists around the world tonight are remembering, with fondness and warmth, The People’s General - in the person of General Eva Burrows, who was Promoted to Glory earlier today from her homeland of Australia.
The 13th General of The Salvation Army (1986-1993), General Eva Burrows, AC, will be remembered as a valiant Christian soldier and leader who, through her selfless, thoughtful leadership, has left an indelible mark on The Salvation Army.
Commissioner Silvia and I join you in mourning the loss of our great friend, leader and mentor. However, on this day we rejoice that General Burrows fulfilled her great commission and is now rejoicing with her Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, in heaven. Please remember to prayer for the General’s family and close friends during these days. John 14:1

‘Well done thou good and faithful servant.’ May God bless you.'

Commissioner Floyd Tidd (Australia Southern Territory) said, "General Eva Burrows was an inspiring, respected and loved colleague with an exemplary record of international service for The Salvation Army. She led a faithful covenanted life as both an officer and a soldier. She was universally recognised as a very strong leader with a unique spiritual authority. She will be sorely missed."

Commissioner James Condon (Australia Eastern Territory) has rightly mentioned, 'The Army world is saddened today to lose such a good friend and noble leader as General Eva Burrows. Yet we are also glad that our Saviour has welcomed her home. Truly General Burrows was a great Australian who could have made her mark in any pursuit, but instead poured out her life in the service of Christ and The Salvation Army.'

General Eva was an active participant of Melbourne Project 614 in retirement. I had the occasional opportunity to witness General Eva in ministry, serving the poor and broken on the inner city of Melbourne. Majors Brendan and Sandra Nottle (commanding officers of 614) say, 'General Eva Burrows was the absolute epitome of what it means to be a true Salvation Army Officer. She was deeply interested & passionate about every aspect of people's being, no matter what level of society they were from. Anyone that met her always felt valued, respected & deeply appreciated. On meeting her, they were always filled with hope & reminded that they are never forgotten & always loved.'
It's not just Salvationists who have poured out the tributes. Steve Lillibuen from The AGE newspaper has written a piece about the People's General. The Daily Telegraph have written about the leader that General Eva Burrows was.

I have my own stories to tell, as do so many Salvationists the world over. I remember everytime I had a chat with General Eva, she would look at me, and ask me how Jo was (my wife) and how Craigieburn Corps was going. And by the way, how are the children? Many have memories of moments like these. Who would expect a retired General of the worldwide movement of The Salvation Army to remember you, care for you in those moments, know your current appointment and even take time to write emails to you when you have a child? This was exemplary, caring and compassionate leadership. General Eva Burrows loved Jesus, lived for Jesus and lived like Jesus. She has been an absolute inspiration to The Salvation Army and her legacy will live on for decades to come.

As General Eva was promoted to glory, my wife, Captain Jo Brookshaw was in the middle of painting the picture shown, for those in leadership in the Australia Eastern Territory. "I am doing a new thing." She says:

This painting is called "I am doing a new thing", and is dedicated to the life and memory of General Eva Burrows [rtd], a mighty woman of God who was promoted to glory as this painting was almost complete. May her memory spur many on - to live mightily for Jesus and in doing so, witness His "new thing" as it comes to pass in His Salvation Army. 

Let me finish by saying: One great privilege that we have as followers of Jesus, is to know Christ and to make him known. The other great privilege is that one day we will meet Christ face to face. 

General Eva Burrows has just had that privilege. 

Helpful Tips on Mentoring - Day 20: 100 Days of Leadership

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Leaders have mentors. They need them. The mentors encourage them, challenge them and reveal to them things about themselves they didn’t even know.

Banking businessman David Gonski gives some helpful tips on mentoring. He says:
1.    You’re never too old to learn new tricks (so have a mentor)
2.    Do not pick your boss as a mentor
3.    Have more than one mentor (e.g. a leadership coach, a social media expert, a finance mentor, a personal coach, etc).
4.    Mentors share knowledge that you would not have gained but through the mentoring relationship (Adapted from Australian Financial Review, 13/2/15, page 3).

Let’s stop and look at a definition of mentoring. ‘Mentoring is to support and encourage people to manage their own learning in order that they may maximise their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be.’ Eric Parsloe, author of Coaching and Mentoring.

If you’ve been on the leadership journey for a while, then who are you mentoring? How effectively are you supporting and encouraging, within the mentoring relationship, to help bring about the best success for the one you mentor? Take a leaf out of the Apostle’s Paul’s book. He mentored Timothy and allowed his life and ministry be an example to him.

I thank God for the different mentors I have had over the years. One mentor could challenge me lovingly about my health. One mentor would give me tips on how to preach. Another mentor would pat me on the back and assure me, that it’ll all work out in the end. Leaders need mentors.

What does the Bible say?

2 Timothy 1: 13-14 - What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

What will I do now?
Maybe for you, it is time to explore a mentoring relationship with someone; be it a leadership coach, a personal coach or a mentor in a specific field of expertise. Maybe for you, it is actually time to start mentoring someone. Have you learnt some lessons along the way? What if it is time to support and encourage someone in mentoring?

Friday, March 20, 2015

What's the Big Idea? Day 19: 100 Days of Leadership

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Ideas are great. I come up with a few every day. I’m like the Thomas Edison of Christianity. I tell my wife and she smiles. She knows something that I am only just learning. She understands that ideas are only ideas that are worth value once they are acted upon. I could have ‘all the ideas in the world’ but if I never do anything about them, I may as well be blowing hot air.

Don't just be an ‘ideas man’. Don’t just be known as the person in the office who comes up with the latest thought and latest program. That's not leadership. Be an implementer. Find out whether the idea has merit, and if so, then run with it. Implement the idea. An idea is like a seed; if it is never planted and given an opportunity to grow, it will always simply remain a seed.

What role does the Holy Spirit play in producing ideas?

As a follower of Jesus, hearing from God is paramount. Here’s the risk: You may know your trade well and have great ideas to implement. You may be very well equipped in a field of expertise. But without the whisper of the Holy Spirit you could end up spending your days busily doing that which God never intended. We need to learn to hear the whisper from the Holy Spirit; the whisper that sent Paul to Macedonia and took Elijah from the mountain of depression. We need to learn to hear the whisper of God of when to start something and when to stop. The Holy Spirit can spark an idea, that we could never dream of conjuring up in our own minds.

The best ideas are God-inspired ideas and with God’s help, find a way to turn ideas into fruitfulness.

What does the Bible say?

Acts 16:6-10 - Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.\

What will I do now?

Will you spend a moment and listen to the whisper of the Holy Spirit? What is the Lord asking you to stop doing? What is it that the Lord is asking you to start?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

How do Leaders Deal with Conflict? Day 18: 100 Days of Leadership

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Leadership would be easy, if people just got along. I mean, how much time do leaders spend fixing conflicts that wouldn’t exist if we simply loved each another? Let me move on quickly, because I don’t need to convince you that conflict exists and is a reality in organizational and family life. The bigger discussion is how do leaders deal with interpersonal conflict?

I want offer one thought for dealing with negative conflict.

Nip it in the bud. Yes, that's right. When a relationship issue arises, do something about it. Cool it down before it flares up. Bad leaders throw fuel on the fire and cause explosions. Good leaders find ways to deal with conflict. They don’t let it fester like an infected, pus-wound. Leaders take initiative in this respect. If the conflict isn’t resolved, the passive aggressive nature kicks in. Let me explain. If there is not a mediation or resolution to the interpersonal conflict, then quite often people will hold onto the hurt and pain. Six months later, everything rises to the surface again because the original conflict wasn’t resolved. So do your best to nip it in the bud.

 I used the word ‘negative’ conflict earlier. Patrick Lencioni in The Five Dysfunctions of a Team speaks of teams needing to have a healthy conflict culture. He’s not speaking about the heated argument that gets out of hand. He’s saying that a team environment needs to be able to rigorously debate ideas, and not just agree on everything because people are too afraid to speak up. Leadership teams need to foster that kind of positive conflict, that creates better outcomes than if conflict didn’t exist.

What does the Bible say?

Matthew 18:15-17 -  “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

What will I do now?

Will you deal with conflict as it arises? What does the Matthew 18 passage suggest is the process for conflict resolution?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Are you Emotionally Resilient? - Day 17: 100 Days of Leadership

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We’ve all had times when our emotional buttons have been pushed. But have we controlled them? Have we used our emotions to be a good leader or have we exploded under the pressure?

Emotional resilience is of paramount importance in leadership. As the pressure increases and as the conflict arises, a leader must be resilient with his/her emotions. A leader shouldn't 'crack under pressure' or 'flip out' when something doesn't go his/her way. You must find a way to be emotionally resilient.

One avenue, in which emotional resilience is absolutely crucial, is the cut-throat, never-forgiving, circus-like arena of politics. In Australian political history, of recent years, as soon as a leader sneezes, another leader is trying to cause a leadership spill and force a change of positional leader. Political leaders are dragged through the mud in social media, television and newspapers, and put on the spot by the political journalists in confronting interviews. Without emotional resilience, a politician will make an early exit from the volatile arena.   

How do you build emotional resilience?

I believe one of the greatest ways to build emotional resilience is to tackle problems head on. Let me explain. When a work colleague abuses you verbally in a board meeting, you know very well that you need to have a chat with the person involved. Now, you can choose to avoid the encounter, or you can choose to make an effort to build your emotional intelligence. Granted if the person has been abusive, you may want to have someone with you in the meeting. Take the opportunities to have safe, but candid discussions with people (be it about behaviour or work performance, etc). Tackle these opportunities head on. You will build your emotional capacity as you engage with such relational opportunities.   

What does the Bible say?

Acts 7:54-56 - When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.  “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

What will I do now?

How do you rate yourself out of ten when it comes to your emotional resilience? What relationships and situations can you better embrace to grow in this area?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Who is the Greatest Leader in the World? - Day 16: 100 Days of Leadership

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You may not have deliberated much about this, but if you had to choose the greatest leader in the world, who would you choose? Actually, take a step back. By what criteria would you make that choice? I mean, is the greatest leader, the one with the most influence (however that is measured), the most followers, the one who caused the most significant social change, or someone who had the greatest impact on the global economy?

I may sound biased, but the best leader in the world is surely, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. I mean let’s look at the resume:

He has billions of followers today and has had millions for the last two millennia.

He revolutionized how we thought about hate and love.

He expressed an upside down kind of leadership model, where titles, position and prestige were not the priority, but rather a servant style of leadership.

He has led many out of hurt, pain, brokenness to a life of peace, purpose and fulfilment.

His teachings were nothing less than transformational. He taught people about forgiveness and humility. He taught people about living a focused, prayer-centered life.

As a leader he empowered disciples to follow him, learn from him and take his message of the Kingdom of God to the surrounding towns and villages and finally, to the ends of the earth.    

Jesus exemplified leadership qualities. He was and is the greatest leader in the world. My leadership tip? Follow Jesus.

What does the Bible say?

Colossians 1:15-18 - The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

What will I do now?
If you could emulate Jesus as a leader, what would you do differently to what you’re doing now? How would you live differently? 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Leadership is more than Personality and Charisma - Day 15: 100 Days of Leadership

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I like my personality. I won’t lie. It’s God-given. It’s unique to me. It makes me who I am. Yes. I like it. Though, here is the thing: Leadership is not about personality.

Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner say, 'Leadership is not about personality; it's about behavior; an observable set of skills and abilities'.

There’s no doubt personality is uniquely a part of a leadership toolbox. I am who God has made me. Though what Kouzes and Posner are saying is that ultimately, your behaviour is what will separate you from a mediocre leader and a great leader. To say it differently, the choices you make in the way you behave and act will ultimately determine your effectiveness as a leader.

I used to think charisma was the crucial gift needed for good leadership; you know, the ability to make people laugh, speak an arousing message to those listening and to have people love me. Well, charisma and personality aren’t everything. Now, of course we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water and suggest that a God-given personality and a charismatic type style of engaging with others is futile, far from it. Though, here’s the key: behaviour trumps charisma. Behaviour also trumps personality.  

Let me clarify, that behaviour is not about whether you ‘behave’ yourself, but rather what Kouzes and Posner suggest, ‘an observable set of skills and abilities’. So good leadership then is not about personality and charisma, but how you utilize skills and abilities to enact change.  

What does the Bible say?

Jonah 1:1-3a - The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port.
What will I do now?
Take a closer look at the story of Jonah. Jonah became a leader of influence when he chose through his behaviour to honour God and preach to the city of Nineveh. What are you doing to ‘utilize skills and abilities to enact change’? What do you need to stop doing?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

How to Develop Your Character - Day 14: 100 Days of Leadership

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There are many things we prioritize in life, be it, spending time with the family, attending the birthdays of relatives, having a coffee in the morning and finishing off the administrative work. Though I wonder how often we prioritize character development.

Now, here me out on this one. Leaders prioritize character development; that is, they spend time working on developing their character and they make it a priority! This is a leadership tip that cuts to the heart. Try to be nicer to your spouse, do the laundry without whining, be aware of how you speak and act to other employees.

Developing your character is not a given. You do not just turn up to work one day, and 'character' is in an envelope waiting to be pried open. Jack Hayford says, 'Our human disposition finds it easier to spend time "tweaking systems" than prioritizing honest-to-God introspection and constant availability to transformation'.

Many a times I have laid on my bed at night and said, ‘Lord, I want the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.’ See, the thing is, without character, my leadership capacity or otherwise is totally irrelevant. I need God to show me how to develop my character. One may say that we need God to help us live in the fullness of who he created us to be.

I think the key here is to recognize character flaws when they appear. Is that not the first point of call? To grow in maturity in Christ, you must first have an awareness of where you are falling short. It is difficult to grow in an area in which you are blinded to the problem. I would be continually asking Christ, to make me more like him, so that my life might reflect his.  

What does the Bible say?

1 Corinthians 13:1 – If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but I do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

What will I do now?
Spend some time, right now focusing on your own character. Pause for a moment. Don’t move on to the next task or the next thing. Ask God to show you your character. Ask God to reveal that which you need to ‘work on’. What part of your character needs to better reflect Christ?

Saturday, March 14, 2015

How to be an Authentic Leader - Day 13: 100 Days of Leadership

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Fake leaders drive me crazy. Do you know the leaders I’m talking about? They say they care, but you can sense they don’t. They say they understand the financial challenges of the organization and you know their annual pay packet could fund World Vision for a year.
I’m on the quest for authenticity and I think western culture today is the same. You have to understand people follow what they see, not necessarily what you teach. If the actions of a leader do not line up with the words, people will dismiss the words. This is about authenticity in leadership and people can smell a hypocrite a mile away! Consider a child that you ask to, ‘Speak nicely to others.’ They will be more willing to proceed with the request, if you as a parent do the same thing. I mean, do you in fact speak nicely to others? They will follow what they see, not necessarily what they hear. 
How do you become an authentic leader? If you care, then really care. If you teach about integrity, live it out when no one is watching. When all the high-profile leaders arrive at work for an onsite visit, don’t become someone you’re not. I’ve done this before, and I’ve seen many other leaders do a similar thing; when the top level executives arrive you have your jokes ready, you have the coffee beans washed, licked and dried and you put on a show. An authentic leader is consistent in behavior and emotions.
I’ve heard it said, ‘Know who you are in Christ.’ A leader is surely someone who merely lives out an authentic expression of who they are in God.
What does the Bible say?

Philippians 1:9-11 - And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

What will I do now?
Do some soul-searching. Are you an authentic leader? Do people see you as being consistent in character? Do you practice what you preach?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Self-Discipline - The Blood and Sweat of Leadership - Day 12: 100 Days of Leadership

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Self-discipline is a requirement for every good leader. James R. Lowell says, 'No one can produce great things who is not thoroughly sincere in dealing with himself'. Leadership demands self-discipline.
When you have a project that is due on a pressing deadline, you may need coffee, but you definitely need self-discipline.
When you are trying to lose weight, you may want another donut, but what you really need is self-discipline.

When you’re trying to write a sermon for a congregation, it might be easier to prepare the message in the microwave, but you really know what the congregation needs is a sermon that has been bubbling away in a crockpot.

Self-discipline may feel like a word that grates against every fibre of your being. Though every leader I look up to, I see that they have learnt to conquer the battle between their own flesh and the self-discipline they need to succeed.

To overcome the fight between mediocrity and self-discipline, one needs to continually make the right choices. Will I send that email or refresh my facebook page? Will I have that difficult conversation with another work colleague or will I postpone it indefinitely? Will I go for that walk or will I grab an extra hour of sleep?

We wrestle with this every day. Good leaders conquer self-discipline. God helping us, we can be a holy, disciplined people who love God, who serve God and spend our time in ways that honour God.  

What does the Bible say?
Hebrews 12:11 - No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
What will I do now?
Here’s where the rubber hits the road. What do you need to do that you’ve been putting off? What practical things do you need to be more disciplined with? Will you consciously make the choice to have self-discipline?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Character and Competence - Which do you have? Day 11: 100 Days of Leadership

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Is competence the most important thing about leadership, or is it character? Or maybe, good leaders have both. My belief is that character trumps competence. You may be a great leader, but transformative leadership will crumble without a character that complements your competence (When I say character I think of traits such as honesty, integrity, consistency and humility).

I have heard too many stories of leaders who have fallen from grace because they slept with someone who was not their spouse, or embezzled money or showed nepotism. Competence without character is not sustainable.

President Bill Clinton’s career almost came crashing down after the sex scandal with Monica Lewinsky hit the tabloids. I mean, who would have thought, a competent, strong leader like Bill Clinton could fall into such moral decay? World class golfer Tiger Woods got caught up in the sex scandals too, and it all but ruined his career. See, you can be the best golfer in the world, but if you can’t keep your character in check, the way you drive a one-wood is going to be irrelevant.  

I did hint at the following thought: A great leader has both admirable character and competence. Maybe when it comes to great leadership, is not so much ‘character vs competence’ but rather, having both a depth of character and competence. I still come back to the premise though, that if you had to choose between the two, I would choose character!

What does the Bible say?

Acts 6:3-4 - Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.

What will I do now?
Are there character flaws within you that you need to work on? Are you bold enough to name them, and consider how you might improve? Also, what areas of your field of work, do you need to ‘lift your game’? Are there any particular courses, or training or reading you can do to improve your competency in this field?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

What is the Foundation of Leadership? Day 10: 100 Days of Leadership

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One cannot proceed through the 100 days of leadership without mentioning military leaders like Colin Powell and General George Washington. Interestingly, in The Art of Command, Washington is spoken of as a leader of integrity. He was a leader who was spoken highly of from military personnel to recruits to political leaders. Thomas Jefferson said of Washington, that his integrity was, ‘most pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known, no motives of interest or consanguinity, of friendship or hatred, being able to bias his decision….His character was, in its mass, perfect.’  

Have good character, because good character is the foundation of good leadership. Albert Schweitzer (Nobel Peace Prize-winner) says, 'Example is leadership'. That is to say, leaders lead by example, through their character, their actions and their integrity. Who they are, is what makes them a leader or rather who they are will determine whether they are a great leader or a poor leader. In essence, leadership is more about being than it is about doing. Good character is the foundation of leadership.

This reminds me of that phrase that people will follow who you are, not necessarily what you say. It goes without saying, that your words are meaningless if they do not match your actions. That is a difficult one, because numerous times we say something, like, ‘We all need to communicate better with one another’ and then you forget to follow through with an important piece of communication. The challenge is as followers of Jesus, that we have alignment between our words and our actions. This is part of our own journey of maturity, and over time it is about making the right choices to ensure that we have integrity in all that we say and do.
What does the Bible say?

1 Timothy 3:2-3 - Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.
What will I do now?
Pray this prayer: Holy Father, empower me for ministry to be authentic in every act, holy in every intention, pure in every relationship, genuine in every word, and devoted in every expression of worship. Amen.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

How to Think Outside the Box - Day 9: 100 Days of Leadership

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It’s easy to think inside the box. A problem arises and our brain considers all the possible solutions, generally based on our experience. We frequently think inside the box.

Einstein once remarked that no problem can be solved by the same consciousness that created it. To solve a difficult problem then, one needs to engage in thinking that is paradigmatically different to the thinking that was present when the problem first surfaced.

Consider for a moment, that the general public in the western world are generally no longer fascinated and enthralled to attend church. We have sat around and discussed the possible changes we could make to increase church attendance. Someone says, ‘Let’s improve the music.’ Another pipes up and says, ‘Let’s serve up coffee in the foyer following the service.’ ‘Hey, why don’t we get a guest speaker occasionally?’ The issue is, that the lack of people attending church in today’s context is not a problem that is going to be solved with ‘in the box’ thinking. If people are not attending churches, why would it seem beneficial to improve the internal architecture of the place? A leader needs to think outside the box.

How does a leader think outside the box? Brainstorming often works. Others prefer to clear the air and climb a mountain. One may ask for someone’s opinion from outside their usual field of expertise. Use your left brain, then use your right brain, that is, start by thinking logically about solutions to a problem and then think creatively. Write a poem. Draw a picture. Read from a different field of expertise.

What does the Bible say?

Matthew 22:34-40 - Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

What will I do now?
In the above Scripture, Jesus provided a radical answer to a difficult question. I wonder how you can foster the capacity to think outside the box? Write down a problem. Can you think of any creative ways to solve the problem?

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