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Shepherding Discontented Sheep (via Nick Kennicott)

Nick Kennicott considers the delicate pastoral situation of Christians who move from one church to another because of unhappiness with their last church.

Faithful local churches want to grow through the redemption of sinners. Through evangelistic efforts and the consistent administration of the ordinary means of grace, there should be a healthy expectation that there will be new believers joining the church periodically. However, the most significant growth in most local churches is Christians transferring their membership from other local churches. Almost 60% of American churches have an average of 75 members, so it’s refreshing and can be exciting to see new faces with new and different gifts. It is not wrong to want to see the church grow, but it should never be without several important considerations.
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There are certainly cases when the discontentment of sheep is legitimate and they have good reasons to leave their church. Sadly, churches can be abusive and authoritarian, or they can be heretical. Additionally, a Christian should have a general desire to be in their church knowing that there is substantial agreement on doctrine and philosophy of ministry. If things change, there may be very legitimate reasons for a believer to look for a new church family. Likewise, Christians are never obligated to remain in a local church and nobody can insist that they must. Church membership is a vital aspect of the Christian life; but, Christians need to be members of a faithful local church, not necessarily any one church that they may have joined at some particular point in time.

Read the whole post at Reformation 21.


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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.


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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.