Saturday, 1 February 2014

Facing your greatest fear

A church in Leicester recently polled its members asking them: "what is your greatest fear?"... and then responding by having a series of talks addressing those fears.

Top of the poll by a distance was the fear of losing a loved one.

You can find  here the talk that addressed it, dealt with sensitively, boldly and honestly by a very promising young speaker.

http://www.knighton.org.uk

Under the heading: "fear of losing a loved one"

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Strong Leadership

Long time since I posted.

This  anonymous quote came on the PCF blog. Sobering stuff, and difficult to process for those of us who aspire to be leaders, and like getting their own way.

" I once read that the reason Michael Jordan hasn't been able to succeed at being the president of a NBA team (below .500 win percentage) is because he was so use to hearing  Yes  as a player. He was Michael Jordan, who was going to say  no  to him? On the court he was the best player, no one could stop him. As a leader in the front office, not so much. All great leaders need  someone or a group of people who's not afraid to say  I'm not sure if that's the best way . And all great leaders shouldn't be afraid of this. They should actually welcome it. You can't surround yourself with  Yes  men and women and expect to succeed. You need some folks you trust and that will tell you if your idea stinks."

Of course this doesn't apply to me as my ideas never stink.

Yeah, right.


Monday, 1 July 2013

Three days in London

I spent exhilarating three days in London at the Evangelical Ministry assembly with about 1200 other church leaders and preachers, being inspired, motivated and encouraged by Rico Tice, Vaughan Roberts and others.

Tremendous ministry and fellowship, a real privilege to be there.

It also brings back  one of my long standing issues. This was a conservative evangelical conference. How can I be both conservative evangelical and  charismatic? It seems to me that the error that the CEs can fall into is in believing that god is at work today by his word ONLY. And  maybe that charismatics  undervalue the importance of God's word in his work?

I so want to be a minister that ministers in truth and power in the might of his Holy Spirit with whatever God has given, avoiding excess and error, but taking hold of  the Spirit and Word. May God help all who were at the EMA to do so.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

The truth that sets you free

A real gem from my favourite management guru, Stephen Covey. I know some people are really nervous about the "unspiritual" input of someone like Covey, but in fact he brings a great deal of wisdom that we would do well to affirm.


"From the cowardice that is afraid of new truth, from the laziness that is content with half-truth and from the arrogance that thinks it has all truth, O God of truth deliver us" Stephen Covey

We are so often afraid to look objectively at issues because we are afraid that it will lead us to the position where we discover that we have not got it right all these years - and that will challenge our security in the old way of doing things. We will be content with half truth because it is such hard work to think things through, and we often end up coming to the position where the truth is really quite subtle, and hard work to implement. And we can often be arrogant enough to act as if we know and no one else does.

Covey is quite right to invite us to call on the God who is truth to deliver us from all these.

After all it is the truth that sets us free.

Interesting that this is written by a Mormon

:)

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Upside Down

"Upside Down"

is the title of a book by Stacy Rinehart (a bloke...he has to be American!) on the subject of leadership.

In it he explores  what he calls the paradox of servant leadership. It gets right to the heart of what I am constantly trying to grapple with. The model of leadership that Jesus endorses is all the do with servant leadership, with preferring one another above ourself, with taking the lowest position. Yet the nature of leadership is such that we find ourselves in front of others, seeking to influence them to go in the way that we believe that they should.

How does that work?

A great book on leadership from a man  who comes out of the Navigator stable, a movement that has had, and continues to have a profound influence on my life.

Anyone in leadership could do with this book.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Disagreements

In church life - or any sphere of life - one of the killers of progress is disagreement.

My favourite management expert has this wonderfully helpful and pithy insight:

"At the root of most communication problems are perception or credibility problems. None of us sees the world as it actually is...but as we are. and our experience-induced perceptions greatly influence our feelings, beliefs and behaviour.

Perception and credibility problems may result on complicated knots, what we often call "personality problems" or communication breakdowns". Credibility is far more difficult to resolve, primarily because each of the persons involved thinks he sees the world as it is rather than as he is. Unaware of the distortion in his own perception, his attitude is this: "If you disagree with me in this, in my eyes, you are automatically wrong, simply because I am sure that I am right"

Whenever we are so "right" as to make everyone who sees and thinks differently feel wrong, their best protection from further injury is to label us, peg us, to put us behind mental and emotional bars for an indeterminate jail sentence, and we will not be released until we pay "the uttermost farthing". Most credibility problems can be  resolved if one or both parties will realise that at the root is a perception problem.

Certain attitudes and behaviours are essential to clearing communication:

Attitudes:

1. I assume good faith. I do not question your sincerity or your sanity.
2. I care about our relationship and I want to resolve this difference.
3. I am open to influence and I am prepared to change.

Behaviours

1. Listen to understand
2. Speak to be understood
3. Start dialogue from a common point of reference or point of agreement and move slowly into areas of disagreement.

When these three attitudes and behaviours are acquired, almost any communication perception or credibility area can be resolved."

Stephen R. Covey
Principle-Centred Leadership (1992) p109-110

What Covey does not say, however, is that at the root of this ability to resolve differences has to be a godly humility that comes from Jesus:

"3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death
        even death on a cross!"
 
(Philippians 2 v 3-8, NIV)

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

New babies in the house

There's nothing that brings excitement into a church more than new life in Christ.

And, wonderful to report, we have had four such events in the last six months. As far as can be seen, genuine conversions, all of which are being actively followed up with people discipling them. Just wonderful.

Each of the four are people that we have contacted through CAP (see previous blog entry). W£e are now "in the lives" of so many people who we would normally not have contacted.

There is no shortage of challenge and potential to be discouraged. but God is at work. And it's amazing to be a part of it.

Next stop Alpha (starts 13 May)