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Stop Solving The Wrong Problem (via Dan Rockwell at Leadership Freak)

It was mostly this quote from Peter Drucker that pulled me up:
“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”

Dan Rockwell always value adds though and points out some helpful ways of identifying what the problem actually is, so that you can then invest time and energy into trying to create effective solutions.

Read more at Leadership Freak.


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‘Developing A Good Pause Tolerance’ a.k.a. Leading Quiet Bible Study Groups (via Richard Sweatman at GoThereFor)

Dealing with Bible studies or Growth Group studies where people are reticent about sharing their answers can seem awkward.
This article on GoThereFor provides some encouragement and practical strategies to encourage the sort of participation through which the group will help each other learn from God’s word.
This paragraph is about ‘developing a good pause tolerance’.

As you get into more questions, work hard at developing a good pause tolerance. By this I mean the ability to withstand silence. Ask your question clearly and with confidence and then pause. Count to fifteen slowly in your head and commit to not speaking. Look calm, smile, and make eye contact briefly with people around the room. If it helps, visualize the petals of a flower slowly unfolding, as an illustration of peoples’ thought processes at work. If someone speaks, respond with as much positive affirmation as you can. If your silence count reaches fifteen (or longer), invite one of your more confident members to share what they think. Encourage them that whatever they say will likely be helpful. Your coleader might break the silence once or twice during the study, but doing so more often will signal to group members that if they wait long enough the coleader will provide the correct answer. Both of you need to learn to wait—it will make a huge difference in leading a quiet group.

Read the rest of Richard Sweatman’s article at GoThereFor


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Running Good Meetings (via Michael Kruger)

A helpful post by Michael Kruger about what may seem a mundane subject: chairing effective meetings.
Pitched to meeting leaders, everyone who attends meetings (and hopefully they’re being led by someone) would benefit from knowing what effective meetings are working towards and how effective leadership can increase their productivity while minimising the amount of time needing to be spent participating in them.
From Kruger:

What’s the most important skill you need to be successful in ministry? Knowing how to run a good meeting.
Ok, that’s not really true. Many other things matter more (a lot more!). But, running a good meeting still matters. And more than you think.
Even those who’ve only been in ministry a short time know that meetings dominate your weekly schedule. Sometimes, it seems that half your week is spent in some sort of meeting. During meals. Over coffee. In a conference room. With the elders. With ministry leaders. With support staff.
And here’s the other reality we all know. Meetings vary widely in their effectiveness. Some meetings produce real progress and fruit. Those can be exhilarating, even fun. And other are a tedious and frustrating waste of time. Those can be exhausting and even debilitating.
So, how can we make our meetings better? Here I offer just a few quick thoughts for meeting leaders.

Read Kruger’s suggestions here at his blog, canon fodder.


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When The Church Sings The Church Learns (via Michael Kelly)

Michael Kelly writes about why the church should pay careful attention to the lyrics of the songs that it sings.
One of those reasons is that the words we sing become truths that remain in our minds.

Songs help us learn. They always have. They helped us learn the ABCs, the days of the week and the months of the year, and the colors of the rainbow. Beyond that, though, consider for a moment how many song lyrics you know.
Now if you want to go a step further, compare the amount of song lyrics you can recite with the number of Bible verses you can quote. See what I mean? Songs teach us, even if we don’t know they are teaching us. This is why , throughout the history of Christianity, one of the greatest tools for teaching theology has been music. After all, one of the earliest Christian hymns is the great Christological passage of Philippians 2.
If it’s true, then, that we are learning from our songs whether we mean to or not, then we ought to pay very close attention to what we are singing as a means of guarding our hearts and minds.

Read the other two of his reflections here.


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Patiently Nurturing Culture Change (via Ron Edmondson)

Ron Edmondson offers five observations regarding culture change in a local church:
They’re pretty sensible, but can be overlooked because of enthusiasm or over-confidence.
Taking the time to get to know the church and its existing culture (in contrast to its behaviour; trying to understand why people are doing what they’re doing) is necessary and respectful.
It also provides insight that enables adaptions that help changes to be specifically suited to the location rather than just being imported because they worked somewhere else.
Edmondson’s first four:

Figure out where the culture most needs to be changed.
Figure out what is working that you can build upon.
Begin to get a vision for the future. What does it look like?
Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.

And his final point:

Steadfastly work the plan.
It will take longer than most leaders hope it will. The longer the present culture has been engrained the longer it will take to change it. Protect your soul during the process, take frequent periods of rest, surround yourself with some encouragers, but stick with it.
The process to get there won’t be easy, but when the culture is improved you can really start having fun again.

Read the whole post here.


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Pastor By Seeing Through God’s Eyes (via Gavin Ortlund)

Gavin Ortlund offers seven areas in which pastors manifest affection (in contrast to love) for those the congregations they serve.

He finishes by writing:

See them through God’s eyes
These people are the sheep of the shepherd. God loves them with a jealous, yearning, husband-like love:
“Love is strong as death,
jealousy is fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
the very flame of the Lord” (Songs of Songs 8:6).
If all else fails, remember how much the Lord loves your people. Jesus, the One before whom you stand, is affectionate for your people. He was thinking of them, also, as he slowly died on the cross. He now intercedes for them as His precious, blood bought people. That is the measure of their worth in His eyes.
If Jesus gave us blood for them, we can give our hearts to them.

Read the whole post here.


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Relational Patience (via Ed Stetzer)

In a post about necessary qualities of church revitalisers (those who come be nurture new vitality in an existing church, in contrast with church planters who are starting a new church) Ed Stetzer writes about the need for relational patience, a quality any pastor who is working with an existing church needs.

…church revitalizers must have relational patience
If you’re planting a church, you do not necessarily have to be relationally patient. A church planter can come into an area and do their thing, and if people don’t respond, they can move on. But in church revitalization, it is essential to be relationally patient. Church revitalizers need to take time with people and love people who don’t always agree with them.
They must remember that a church member disagreeing with them is not the same thing as disagreeing with God. There will be people who have different views, approaches, and philosophies. A church revitalizer needs to have the patience to take time to weigh all of those opinions. They have to learn how to love the entire congregation well, including those they disagree with. That takes a great amount of relational patience.

Read the whole post.