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Not Running Ahead Of Him (via Jared C Wilson)

A reminder that a thoughtful and intentional Gospel ministry relies on supernatural power, not pragmatism for its outcome.
From Gospel-Driven Church Jared C Wilson :

One of the most frequent temptations pastors and church leaders face today is to replace a steady commitment to gospel preaching and revival prayer with human ingenuity and industriousness. Can these coexist? Certainly. But we must also guard against allowing ourselves to replace the work that only the Holy Spirit can do. The Holy Spirit can do far more than we think or ask, and his timing may not always follow our goals or fit our plans. But let’s not run ahead of him.

Jared Wilson, Gospel-Driven Church, Zondervan, 2019, pg. 77.


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Difficult To Measure (via Darryl Dash)

A thoughtful answer to a difficult to respond to question.
Darryl Dash frames a response to the enquiry “How’s ministry going?”
“It’s hard. It’s joyous. It’s difficult to measure.”

My generic answer to that question or variations of it is “Along.”

Dash concludes:

In the end, I don’t know how my ministry is going. Only God does. “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself,” Paul writes. “For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God” (1 Corinthians 4:3-5).

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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.
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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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An Unhelpful Dualism In Church Governance (via Dan Hotchkiss)

I grew up with a church system that had two bodies, one tasked with spiritual and the other tasked with temporal matters.
It is not a helpful distinction in so far as everything is spiritual and practical. At its worst the ‘temporal’ body can use its power to veto the plans of the ‘spiritual’ body, effectively putting themselves in charge. At its best the ‘spiritual’ body works with the ‘temporal’ body in developing plans and the ‘temporal’ body sees its role as enabling the decisions of the ‘spiritual’ body, not as determining whether they should happen.
Our system allows for members of the ‘spiritual’ body to be automatic members of the ‘temporal’ body, which generally means they could get their way if they wanted, but, from a governance perspective, the notion that control of what happens rests with the ‘temporal’ body creates an unproductive dynamic that is resistant to change and protects the status-quo.
From Dan Hotchkiss:

Some congregations have two, or even three, top boards, all responsible directly to the congregation. Sometimes the division reflects an old-fashioned mom-and-pop dualism: The board of trustees (pop) controls the money, while a program board (mom) does most Of the work. Sometimes one board is said to be responsible for the “business” aspect of the congregation, while the other takes charge of the “spiritual” part. Have I made it clear yet that I don’t like this way of splitting up the universe? Whoever controls “business” ends up having ultimate control of spiritual matters also.

Dan Hotchkiss, Governance And Ministry, Rowland & Littlefield, 2016, pg 44.


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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.