Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Leaders are born in times of crisis

On September 11th, 2001 an unlikely leader emerged in a time of crisis. A group of bankers were finishing a billion dollar merger plan in one section of the twin towers. They had the versacci (think it is spelled right, never had one) suits, alligator skin briefcases and rolex watches. After their meeting they were traveling from the 102nd floor down to the 1st floor when the first plane struck about 10 stories above them. They had no clue. The elevator stopped, lights went out and they began to take out their cute blackberries and try to find personal assistance. The janitor was on the elevator with them. He knew they were between the 75th and 77th floor. He also knew there was an air vent in the men's bathroom here. He used his mop handle to pry open the air vent. He convinced the bankers to climb out of there. He then directed them to a hidden staircase where they exited at the 1st floor. About 5 minutes later as they were walking down Wall Street, the building collapsed.

That day the hero the was not men in thousand dollar suits. The hero that day was a janitor.

Whoever emerges in a time of crisis will be the leader.

We can start in Genesis and go to the book of Revelation in the Bible and find leaders who emerged in times of crisis.

Think on this:
  • People are watching you in times of crisis in your personal life and organization.
  • They are watching for your attitude and approach.
  • People will ultimately deem you as their leader when they see you handle adversity correctly.

Leaders who start movements usually started these movements in the worst of circumstances and in great adversity.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What the USFL Teahes Us...

Last night I watched the ESPN 30 for 30. They highlighted the USFL. It was a start up football league in 1981 that was going to rival the NFL. They enlisted Herschel Walker, heisman winner from UGA, among other notable players that are now in the NFL hall of fame. They met and exceeded all their goals for the first year. The television viewing audience was high, their attendance was record at games was also high. They did this by having a "fun" league that was high energy and added great entertainment. Fans had fun at the games. It offered something different from the NFL. Their first championship was a sellout audience and excitement was building.
But I had to keep watching to find out how the USFL failed.

In the midst of excitement and growth they attracted Donal Trump who bought the New Jersey Generals, which was the team Herschel Walker played for. He brought in NFL stars to the team and pushed the league forward.
In the midst of the excitement, they added 8 new teams to the league their second year.
They also made the decision in 83' to attempt to move into the fall and compete with the NFL.....

So, that was the story of the USFL. They disbanded in 1983 with millions of lost dollars, hopes and dreams.


Apply this to starting a movement. Here are some principles of why they failed:
1) They got caught up in the emotion as growth came. They were not able to stick to a viable plan for sustaining growth. There will always be seasons of growth and their will always be seasons of decline.
2) They expanded too quickly. Many of the league officials will tell you this diluted and destroyed them. Do not outgrow your resources that fuel the system.
3) They got conceited and thought too much of themselves. They went up against the NFL. They lost. Don't think you are that good. Those who have success worked for it. You will too.

Applying it to Starting a Movement:
It is not how good we look when we start. The key as leaders is to be able to make a viable, God-led, plan that we stick to. Emotional fervor cannot make decisions for us. We must not get "too big for our britches." We must slowly grow into what God has for us. Don't jump out too soon. I have never heard a leader say, "I took it too slow. I waited too long. I saved up too much money." But you will always hear the opposite.

Let's learn from the USFL. Look it up on the internet.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Men in Black on Mentoring

Leaders who start movements mentor those with potential and position them to take their place.
I love the movie Men in Black, namely the first one. You have this young, energetic man that they bring in for an interview to be on the Men in Black team. He is picked because he is sharp, can find creative ways to solve problems and gets the job done.

During one of their first elevator rides, Will Smith looks at Tommy Lee Jones and says, "Hey, I know I am young, but I don't want to be called 'sport,' 'kid,' 'junior,' or 'slick.'" Tommy Lee Jones looks back and says, "Alright Slick, have it your way."

As a young leader (30 now) and a lead pastor, I am often times talked down to by leaders that are older than me. I was told this week that I have a lot of great ideas, but have never worked them out in ministry. I did not stop to tell the guy that everything I am doing, I learned by doing it! It can be very frustrating when you have a vision and know you can lead then you are talked down to and told that you are too young to lead (in so many words).

Men in Black is a great story of mentoring. Will Smith is trained and developed. Tommy Lee Jones knows that Will can and will out do everything he has done. He lets Will make mistakes. He gives opportunities and experiences. The greatest part is at the end when Will takes over.

Here are some questions for you....
1) Who is actively mentoring you now? Do they speak to your potential or do they see age/limitations?
2) If you are mentoring someone, do you speak their potential? Do you treat them as "sport," "slick," or "junior?" I once gave my new book to some denominational leaders. They responded by saying, "cool dude." They never read it. I am no longer with their conference.
3) Are you positioning the next generation to move into their rightful place?

We need to know this...
The next great leaders of the Church are in elementary, middle school or high school. You may have experience, but experience is not the best teacher. Evaluated experience is the best teacher. Being married for 30 years or pastoring for 30 years means nothing. Are you better or still making the same mistakes? Don't judge them based on their experience. Learning things the wrong way can be a bad teacher.

The youth music you hate. The way they dress. They way they talk. Their views toward spirituality and your traditions will be leading the church of tomorrow. Look at the most innovative and fastest growing churches in America. They look a lot youth ministries from 5-10 years ago.

You can talk down to sport, junior or slick, but they will be leading your denomination, organization and church in the years to come.