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No Points For Busy (via Seth Godin)

I’m always uncomfortable when people tell me I’m busy.
(They’re always making that observation in an encouraging and sympathetic way, not as a complaint, btw)
From Seth Godin:

There’s a common safe place: Being busy.
We’re supposed to give you a pass because you were full on, all day. Frantically moving from one thing to the other, never pausing to catch your breath, and now you’re exhausted.
No points for busy.
Points for successful prioritization. Points for efficiency and productivity. Points for doing work that matters.
No points for busy.

Source


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Seeking Genuine Accountability (via Ed Stetzer)

In a post about leadership Ed Stetzer identifies a number of areas that he describes as mature leadership.
On of these has to do with accountability.

Mature leaders purposefully set up structures for accountability and then seek and receive genuine accountability within those structures. They understand that it is easy to be drawn into inappropriate use of that power and will engage in honest and transparent accountability. Every person with power and influence needs to submit to an accountability structure and seek accountability somewhere in some way.
source

Now, the challenge is that for accountability to be genuine it has to represent an authority which the leader submits to.
In pastoral ministry leaders can be seen to participate in an accountability structure, but it is one they have invited, and one whose parameters they have established.
Friends, it’s too easy to give the appearance of genuine accountability (and get recognition for being accountable) but to have only given account for that which you want to give account and be recognised for.
Maturity in leadership invites accountability, but cedes authority over the accountability structure.


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The Vanilla Slice As A Metaphor For Organisational Culture (via Rhonda Brighton-Hall at MWAH)

Thanks to Byron at the Snot Blog for pointing out this crisp yet creamy comparison between effective organisational culture and vanilla slice.
From the article:

Vanilla Slices, and our quest to find, describe, and prescribe the perfect one, is not dissimilar to our passion for good organisational culture.
You may think that’s a stretch, but let me explain.
The Connection
Vanilla Slices are so simple and clear.
A layer of foundational pastry, a much bigger layer of delicious custard, another layer of pastry to hold shape, and then a slither of icing.
And what is culture?
Foundational standards – emotion and relationships – a top layer of boundaries to hold it all in shape, and a slither of PR.

Read the post at MWAH.


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Group-Centered Leadership (via Dan Hotchkiss)

Dan Hotchkiss observes that churches of a certain size tend toward staff-centered leadership structures. The first advantage of that structure is that they usually depend on one leader, and any disruption to that leader can have an inordinately disruptive effect on the organisation.
He then points out a second, more philosophical disadvantage that resonates with my understanding of how a local church should function.

A second disadvantage of staff-centered structures is a disadvantage only if you believe, as I do, that committed groups are capable of making better decisions than individuals can. I don’t always enjoy group decision-making, but I have found again and again that a community willing to be patient with people’s differences and indecision will correct and improve the insights of even the most gifted individuals. If you agree with me that wide participation adds an essential element to a congregation’s search for truth, then a strictly staff—centered congregation seems wrong. Even if the staff-centered model were always more effective at producing practical results, it would leave me dissatisfied because it does not make use of every member’s gifts for discerning the congregation’s mission. This concern, at bottom, is theological: I think each of us comes with a built-in antenna tuned to the fight frequency to hear the promptings of the Spirit, and congregations ought to take advantage of it. I also believe what people call the “politics” of congregations has a good side because a group in conversation can perceive more about what is good and right than the sum of what its members can perceive alone. For these reasons, I choose congregational participation with its messiness, even though I sometimes envy the efficiency of the staff-centered way.

Dan Hotchkiss, Governance And Ministry, Rowland & Littlefield, 2016, pg 42.


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The Difference Between Feedback And Instruction (via Dan Rockwell)

Reading this post by Dan Rockwell provided a moment of clarity on the difference between feedback and instruction.
Good feedback energises performance, it doesn’t discourage effort.

In a recent workshop, I invited a participant to knock a small box off a stool using a cookie. She stood with her back to the stool and tossed the cookie over her shoulder – without looking. (The cookie was wrapped.)
The audience was instructed to remain silent. The first toss hit the ceiling and dropped about two feet behind her.
Her second attempt flew about half way to the stool. But she couldn’t see where it fell.
I asked the audience to give her feedback. Someone in the second row said, “Throw it harder.” Another said, “Hold your hand a little higher.”

Stop:

I stopped the process and said, “That’s not feedback. That’s instruction. Let’s try again.”
Another participant said, “You were about half way to the target.” I asked her to try again.
The cookie fell short by about a foot. “Give her feedback.”
“Your line is perfect,” someone said. Another responded, “You were about a foot short and too low.”
On her fifth try, she knocked the box off the stool. Everyone exploded with applause.

Read the whole post at Leadership Freak.


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Delegating A Concept, As Well As A Task (via Brian Cosby at The Christward Collective)

In a longer post about leadership Brian Cosby illustrates how delegating tasks simply adds workers; it takes the additional impartation of the concept of how the execution of their task is significant in realising the overall goal or vision of the church to build a team.
Something I need to mull over and implement.

As a leader, it is usually preferable to delegate not only specific tasks, but concepts. By doing this you press home the significance of their work. For example, a janitor doesn’t just clean the church; he provides a welcoming environment for gospel community week in and week out. If you tell him to simply clean “that toilet” or dust “that table,” sure, he will (hopefully) do that and do that well. But if you delegate the concept of Christian hospitality—so that he takes ownership that this is his mission and his church—then he will be on the lookout for other needs that are not specified on your list. Don’t get me wrong, he needs a list—clearly outlined expectations! But if you only provide a list without helping him see the bigger picture of why he’s doing what he’s doing, then you will only get what’s on the list and he won’t be truly a part your team.

Read the whole post at Christward Collective.


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The ‘I’ And ‘We’ Of Leadership Responsibility From George H.W. Bush (via Dan Rockwell)

Dan Rockwell reflects on this quote from the late George H.W. Bush: “I think history will point out some of the things I did wrong and perhaps some of the things we did right.”
He notes that some who refer to the quote overlook Bush’s use of the pronouns ‘I’ and ‘We’, so even misquoting and changing the ‘we’ to another ‘I’.

When it comes to failure, be like President Bush. Use “I.” When it comes to success, use “we.”
“I” reflects personal responsibility.
“We” respects others.
The shift from “I” to “we” is the heart of humble leadership. A side benefit of taking responsibility is trust.

Read the entire post at Leadership Freak.