Category Archives: leadership

leadership words to live by

very counter-intuitive & very hard to implement I am finding. but true nonetheless.

Most churches make the mistake of selecting as leaders the confident, the competent, and the successful. But what you most need in a leader is someone who has been broken by the knowledge of his or her sin, and even greater knowledge of Jesus’ costly grace. The…leaders in every church ought to be the people who repent the most fully without excuses, because you don’t need any now; the most easily without bitterness; the most publicly and the most joyfully. They know their standing isn’t based on their performance. -Tim Keller

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authority & power…

very, very thought provoking blog post

love this quote ! :

“Working descriptions. For the purposes of this article I will follow Richard Sennett in describing authority as a relational bond that leads persons to give assent without coercion or persuasion because they find security in the real or imagined strength of others.2 Emphasis here is on the relational bond that leads persons to respond with assent or obedience to the authority of, for instance, a person, business firm, government, church, or set of writings. Authority inspires obedience because persons consider those in authority to have legitimate power based on their ability to act for the common good. When, in the process of social interaction, force is used, this is an indication that the authority is no longer fully in control and must be supported by other means of evoking assent or legitimacy.


leadership, redefined

great, great thoughts on leadership that I need to remember, and anyone who ‘aspires’ to be something of a leader, needs to remember.

We have one leader, and his name is Jesus. I want to bang this home with a quotation from Jesus from Matthew 23, where he seems to be staring at the glow of leadership in the eyes of his disciples, and he does nothing short of deconstructing the glow:

But you are not to be called “Rabbi,” for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth “father,” for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Instead of seeing myself as a leader, I see myself as a follower. Instead of plotting how to lead, I plot how to follow Jesus with others. Instead of seeing myself at the helm of some boat—and mine is small compared to many others—I see myself in the boat, with Jesus at the helm. –HT: Scot McKnight


developing missional leaders

I think I linked to this article before, but I wanted to post it here again – as I re-read it & it struck me freshly – how important this is – to develop leaders…


“About six years ago the German football team was at a crossroads. They were playing what many people thought was a boring brand of the beautiful game. They were a defensive team and while they could sometimes win on the counter when it came to winning a game with their own strategy they really struggled. Losing Euro 2004 was the final disaster and the German Federation did some thinking. They changed leadership and philosophy but MOST IMPORTANTLY they changed their approach to developing players.

Jurgen Klinsman was brought in as a manager with new ideas. Klinsman had recently been a player so he was more of a practitioner instead of a theoretician. Also, he had played a couple of seasons in the English premier League which is undoubtedly the most watched football competition in the world and is known for its attacking flair. Ironic when you consider the way they played in this years World Cup in South Africa.

At this years World Cup the Germans have been inspirational. A young team. Fearless and the only team who has consistently found a way to score goals – lots of goals against different opponents. They planned six years ago for what is happening now. They deliberately found a way to develop the players they needed to lead the world again in the game of football.

We all bemoan the fact that it is proving hard to identify and prepare the catalytic leaders we need to sustain planting movements in our country. But what have we actually been doing? We have been training pastor-teachers. This is important too. But if we want a planting movement we have to find and develop fearless young leaders who will pay any price to do evangelism and disciple-making. My guess is they won’t go to our present training institutions because they simply don’t want to be pastor-teachers.

To find these catalytic leaders we must change they way we talk about mission; then we must change the way we relate to the young catalytic but difficult to manage young men and women in and around our churches; then we must change the way we train them and above all we must change the way we support them in an ongoing manner.”


quote of the day

A quote by Jon Tyson, of Trinity Grace Church in NYC, gave to a group of young church planters at the Ecclesia National Gathering in 2009:

“If you’re young and you’re church planting, do not be the darling of the previous movement just because it’s easy and you’ll be successful. Embrace the pain of preaching to a culture that does not understand, that does not care, that does not want to hear. You’ll be of far more use to the kingdom of God preaching into the future rather than preaching into the past, where it’s easy to gather a crowd that’s already looking for consumer tidbits.”

HT: BenSternke


Stanley Fish on teaching

…read this – this morning & it made me stop in my tracks & think about the messages that we give at Kairos. It is easy to want to want to ‘satisfy’ the community somehow so that they will ‘enjoy, approve, or like’ what is said. I would say that almost all of the time – this is not a conscious thought – just somewhere in the background. Here is a different take on the role of a ‘teacher’ :

From Stanley Fish

“The relationship between present action and the judgment of value is different in other contexts. If a waiter asks me, “Was everything to your taste, sir?”, I am in a position to answer him authoritatively (if I choose to). When I pick up my shirt from the dry cleaner, I immediately know whether the offending spot has been removed. But when, as a student, I exit from a class or even from an entire course, it may be years before I know whether I got my money’s worth, and that goes both ways. A course I absolutely loved may turn out be worthless because the instructor substituted wit and showmanship for an explanation of basic concepts. And a course that left me feeling confused and convinced I had learned very little might turn out to have planted seeds that later grew into mighty trees of understanding.

And that is why student evaluations (against which I have inveighed since I first saw them in the ’60s) are all wrong as a way of assessing teaching performance: they measure present satisfaction in relation to a set of expectations that may have little to do with the deep efficacy of learning. Students tend to like everything neatly laid out; they want to know exactly where they are; they don’t welcome the introduction of multiple perspectives, especially when no master perspective reconciles them; they want the answers.
But sometimes (although not always) effective teaching involves the deliberate inducing of confusion, the withholding of clarity, the refusal to provide answers; sometimes a class or an entire semester is spent being taken down various garden paths leading to dead ends that require inquiry to begin all over again, with the same discombobulating result; sometimes your expectations have been systematically disappointed. And sometimes that disappointment, while extremely annoying at the moment, is the sign that you’ve just been the beneficiary of a great course, although you may not realize it for decades.”

HT: Jesus Creed


The Death of the Charismatic Leader (And the Birth of an Architect)

Jim Collins – A leader as an Architect

This is a great article about moving from charismatic leadership to a leader who builds systems that last longer than himself or herself. I think all leaders need some kind of charisma, but if we’re just relying on that charisma to give the organization momentum, the movement won’t last beyond that one person. Leaders should be architects, building something that goes beyond themselves and their abilities to inspire and bring change…

“So the charismatic-leader model has to die. What do you replace it with? The task that the CEO is uniquely positioned to do: designing the mechanisms that reinforce and give life to the company’s core purpose and stimulate the company to change.

“Building mechanisms is one of the CEO’s most powerful but least understood and most rarely employed tools. Along with figuring out what the company stands for and pushing it to understand what it’s really good at, building mechanisms is the CEO’s role—the leader as architect.”