Hearing happens when we’re able to recognize a sound.
Listening happens when we put in the effort to understand what it means.
It not only requires focus, but it also requires a commitment to encountering the experience, intent and emotion behind the words. And that commitment can be scary. Because if we’re exposed to that emotion and those ideas, we discover things we might be avoiding.
Seth Godin blog June 7, 2020
At this time in our history, listening to one another – really listening, is not just important; it is essential.
On both sides of the racial divide, the local church has a special and unique role to play in facilitating meaningful conversations. I remember listening to Ray Bakke (founder of the Ray Bakke Center for Urban Transformation) many years ago, share that three institutions are ordained in society to govern, care for and give order – the family, the local church and government. Each is strategically positioned to facilitate difficult conversations. However, if the local church is left out of this strategy, the vision for reconciliation will never be achieved. Why? Because reconciliation is a spiritual issue! No other institution in society is designed to address the spiritual issues of sin, repentance and forgiveness.
How can we as church leaders facilitate conversations around the gospel to bring light to the darkness?
A current member of our Leadership Collective – Brian Wilson, Lead Pastor of Access Church in Menifee, CA recently interviewed a panel of guests to allow his congregation to listen, truly listen to the issues that divide people based upon the color of their skin. My prayer is that these exchanges help educate people on both sides of the racial divide.
Watch Part I of a two part series of this informative interview – CLICK HERE.
Questions for your reflection:
- How can our congregation be part of the solution?
- Who can we partner with to demonstrate and practice racial reconciliation?
- What can we do to sustain the process of racial reconciliation so that it is not perceived as an event?
There is this interesting dynamic that occurs in nature. The dynamic of “imprinting” suggests that what we model as leaders is what people will emulate.
Imprinting, in psychobiology, a form of learning in which a very young animal fixes its attention on the first object with which it has visual, auditory, or tactile experience and thereafter follows that object. In nature the object is almost invariably a parent; in experiments, other animals and inanimate objects have been used. Imprinting has been intensively studied only in birds, especially chickens, ducks, and geese, but a comparable form of learning apparently occurs in the young of many mammals and some fishes and insects.
See Britannica article
In parenting this is certainly the case.
As our two children were growing up we read books – in fact, the kids usually could be seen with a book in their lap, under their arm or next to one of us listening intently as we read to them. Guess what our kids favorite past time is today? That is right – reading books.
When it comes to ministry and more specifically, leadership, I suggest that what we do is more important than what we say. Let’s unpack this a bit more…
- When new Christians come to faith, it is important that they “imprint” upon the Lord for protection, sustenance, and training in how to be a Christ follower. (Neil Cole)
- When modeling the practices of spiritual growth and maturity, the spiritual leader transfers those behaviors, both positive and negative, to the maturing disciple.
- When leading, the leader intentionally and unintentionally communicates what is important, like developing people, leaders who take people development seriously prioritize this behavior.
In ministry this is certainly the case.
Here is a real example from my pastor, Steve Redden of Crosspoint Church and the priority of small group ministry. When Gina and I first attended the church in 2014, we were immediately invited to a small group. We enthusiastically participated in that small group that was led by Steve and hosted in the home of another new family in the church. From the very beginning, Steve communicated his intention. His plan was to get the group going. And then sometime around the beginning of the third tri-mester he would begin his transition out of leadership so that he and Denise could begin another small group to connect new people in the church. Little did we know that Steve was preparing Gina and I to take leadership of that group. Now some years later, after a couple of significant transitions e.g. merging with another group, multiplying our group to help start a new church and assimilating a number of new group members – we are still leading that group. But back to Steve and what he modeled as Crosspoint’s priorities.
- FIRST, the importance of small group ministry.
- SECOND, the importance of leadership development.
- THIRD, the importance of being on mission
It is hard to get around this fact – People do what people see!
5 questions to discern the mission-critical activities you want to model
- What mission critical behaviors are you modeling for the leaders you are developing?
- What activities can you delegate to others that are non-essential for you to do yourself?
- What activities can you stop doing altogether that will make room for more mission critical activities?
- What mission critical behaviors do you need to do more of?
- How and when are you going to implement this change?
How we develop leaders & make disciples is changing!
You may or may not agree with this statement. However, the context, cultural moment and accessibility to people has changed. And no one really understands the new normal moving forward. My sense is that it will be different than we have been accustomed to in the past. And I don’t mean that we will all be using Zoom or some other platform more than we have previously. The racial unrest, pandemic and ensuing Stay at Home orders with the social distancing and self-imposed isolation restrictions are exposing cracks in the way we develop leaders and make disciples. Moving from a centralized to a de-centralized model of ministry has forced church leaders to think of creative strategies to be on-mission. I am suggesting that the focused attention we give to developing leaders and making disciples will be a higher priority, more robust process and increasingly nuanced than ever.
This is “Why” I am more and more convinced that we need/must always be refining how we develop people as they progress on their discipleship and leadership journey.
Which is why I am suggesting that you give your attention to these issues today, and every day, as you plant, grow and multiply! One of the ways you can do that is through the Leadership Collective. I asked Brian Wilson, one of our current participants to share his experience in a short (1 minute) video – WATCH HERE to learn from his experience.
One of the exercises we challenge participants to is to articulate their disciplemaking process in a simple “napkin exercise”. This comes at the end of the first of four phases to the leadership development process. The goal is to simplify the disciple’s journey in a transferable manner. In fact, here is a sample that Russ Sidders, Lead Pastor of Sunrise Community Church created – WATCH HERE.
Consider your personal growth and development plans for 2021. How are you taking your effectiveness to multiply leaders who will start and reproduce churches, to reach people far from God, to the next level? I hope and pray to see you in La Jolla, CA on February 28, 2021 – CLICK HERE for more information.
This blog is a slight departure from my normal topic of conversation, namely taking a coach approach to reproducing disciples, leaders & churches. It is indirectly related to those things because it addresses your capacity to stay in a good place right now so that you can continue to do those activities to expand the Kingdom of God. I want to discuss your health as the season of social distance continues, protests and violence are taking place across our country.
The main thing I want to communicate is that you as the leader must remain mindful of your health. You can break down health into three broad categories: physical, mental, spiritual. In the following I hope to address each to a degree.
Let me pull back the curtain back a bit and share what I do as part of my physical health, which has implications for the mental and spiritual areas as well. Below is what I have continued throughout this season of social distancing and a few things that I’ve incorporated as part of my routine. The main thing I have adjusted like you is, who I do these activities with prior to lock-down.
Stay Active - Example
Mountain Bike: 3 mornings/week (Mon/Wed/Sat)
Stretch & Breathing Exercises: 2 mornings/week (Tues/Wed) – contact me direct if you want more information @ firstname.lastname@example.org
Walk: 1 morning/week (Fri)
Pull-ups + push-ups: 6 evenings/week
The point is, stay active!
You probably have figured this out for yourself, no doubt. If you need to rethink what you are doing, this is as good as time as any. If you are just starting out, I would suggest going slow at the beginning, like walking up and down stairs, taking a stroll around the block or low level calisthenics.
Here is a resource to reflect on ways to stay in a good place as you lead from home by Greg Groeschel – Leading from Home (practical insights how to lead well during the season of social distancing): CLICK HERE.
For those of you who are reeling over the violence, protest and injustices going on in our society and globally, I would like to give you a simple challenge that will impact your spiritual and mental health. One very practical thing you can do is to “reach across the aisle”. The aisle I am referring to is the aisle that separates one people group from another people group. Let me pull back the curtain back a bit and share our family experience.
Reach Across the Aisle - Example
For the last several years our family has been blessed through the relationship of our friends – who just so happen to have a very different background than us. They are committed to their faith – we share similar values. However, their daily experience is very different than our daily experience – simply because of the tone of their skin.
Typically we do something fun together every couple of months. Most recently, we have practiced socially distanced conversations in our backyards over the last 6 weeks. Covid-19 was an obvious focus but then the death of George Floyd, protests, violence, politics and solutions were discussed. Our coversations have been rich and real!
We have learned about the unique opportunities we have that our neighbors do not share. We have learned that our friends live with an underlying fear that we can’t fully appreciate. We have learned how much we genuinely love and appreciate each other.
My challenge to you today – reach across the aisle!
The point is, do something!
Here is a resource to reflect on how to love better and reach across the aisle, an interview by Carl Lentz & Bishop T.D. Jakes – Hillsong East Coast: CLICK HERE.
I would love to hear how are you managing your health? Please share your thoughts below:
I get it! You might be wondering what the connection is between coaching in the business context and ministry. Is that right?
One shift leaders encounter when they engage emerging leaders in their leadership development journey is the critical ability to listen, ask questions and offer constructive feedback. Facilitating an emerging leader’s development is not something you learn from reading a book or going to a seminar. Simply sharing information will engage people at a certain level, but to truly connect on a behavioral level, pastors and church planters keen on multiplying leaders to launch church multiplication movements adopt a coach approach.
The real question then is, what can we learn from other leadership experts to help us be more effective at coaching emerging leaders to accelerate their development.
That is why I am suggesting that you can learn from the global thought leaders in the discipline of coaching. The WBECS (World Business Executive Coaching Summit) Pre-Summit officially kicked off last week! Already the first few sessions have been amazing like the session entitled Easy Change vs Hard Change, hosted by Michael Bungay Stanier.
Although the summit has officially started, there’s plenty more to look forward to. I’d love for you to join me and this fantastic, supportive coach community.
To give you an idea of what you can expect at this complimentary Pre-Summit, I’ve listed two sessions I’m most excited about attending:
- Neuro-Axiology – Adding Value to Your Coaching with Game-Changing Insights from Mind-Brain-Value Science, Peter Demarest – Tuesday, June 16th, 2020 6AM PST/9AM EST
- Coach-Led Q&A With Marshall Goldsmith: Coaching in the New World, Marshall Goldsmith – Wednesday, June 17th, 2020 2PM PST/5PM EST
There’s still time to register for the live-virtual complimentary classes taught by top thought leaders in business, executive, and leadership coaching.
Secure your seat for the complimentary Pre-Summit and join me on this journey here.
I can’t wait to see you in the WBECS community.