Friday, June 18, 2010

Learning from the Down-Up

Learning from the Down-Up
I had a great conversation with a young man I have been mentoring recently. We were discussing ministry and dealing with situations. I stopped and asked him, "What would you do?"

He gave some great advice. It was what I needed to hear.

In 2002, my mentor, Pastor Brett Cooper ( asked me how I would deal with a situation in the youth ministry. I was attending and being mentored by Dr. Cooper. I gave my advice and he actually used what I shared.

Leaders who start movements have to operate in a place of humility to listen and learn from all those around them. They don't have to have all the right answers to be the leader. They just have to be able to discern the best ideas from all those around them.

As a leader today ask yourself, "What keeps me from seeing the whole picture?" Ask yourself this, "What will I regret the most about this decision three years from now?"

Learn to pull from sources all around you. Ask good questions and be willingly to change course when see a better perspective.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Narcissistic Leaders

I had a great conversation with a staff member today about narcissistic leaders. I looked deeper into this and found that there is acutally a disorder.

Read this:
Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a condition that is characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, need for admiration, extreme self-involvement, and lack of empathy for others. Individuals with this disorder are usually extremely self assured and arrogant. They expect to be noticed as superior. Many successful individuals may be seen as narcissistic, but this disorder actually disables an individual to function in a healthy manner in society.

Vulnerability and low self esteem make these people especially crippled by criticism. Even though they are outwardly confident, they are haunted by criticism. They react to such criticism in rage, or a defiant counterattack. Their social life is impaired because of entitlement, the need for admiration, and the relative disregard for the sensitivities of others.
It is called NPD.

As I read this and looked at my own life. I asked God to help me see every part of me that operates this way. There are so many Christians who have NPD. The sad thing is that too many leaders have NPD. They are so in love with themselves that they cannot lead others.

Here is your litmus test for NPD
1. Do you find yourself unintentionally reverting conversations back to yourself?
2. Do you become disinterested in conversations or discussions if you are not the center?
3. Do you find your self always listing off your accolades when around other colleagues?
4. Is it hard for you to give praise to others or hear them praised without you being mentioned?
5. Do you get deeply hurt by criticism and retaliate?
6. How self-centered would you rate yourself?

A leader who needs admiration and a status of importance will never find enough.

Leaders who start movements are others focused and God-centered. They know that criticism will come and graciously accept that criticism. They don't find themselves saying, "What about me?"

Our greatest example of this is Jesus Christ. His life was for others. He never did anything just for the love of himself to preserve himself or make himself look good, but he did everything for the betterment of others. He started the greatest movement ever.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Grow to Your Potential

In my leadership devotional this morning, I came across a great breakdown of how to increase your potential as a leader. This is from John Maxwell's "Leadership for Graduates."

It has been said that our potential is God's gift to us, and what we do with it is our gift to Him. But our potential is our greatest untapped resource. Why? We can do anything, but we can't do everything. Many people never really dedicate themselves to their purpose in life. They become a jack of all trades and a master of none- rather than a jack of few trades, focused on one.

Here are four principles to put you on the road to growing toward your potential:

1. Concentrate one One Main Goal: Nobody ever reached their potential by scattering themselves in twenty directions. Reaching your potential requiers focus.

2. Concentrate on Continual Improvement: Commitment to continual improvement is the key to reaching our potential. Each day you can become a little bit better than you were yesterday.

3. Forget the Past: Maybe you have made a lot of mistakes in your life, or you have had an especially difficult past. Work your way through it and move on.

4. Focus on the Future: You can become better tomorrow than you are today. As the Spanish proverb says, "He who does not look ahead remains behind."

Ask yourself today, "Am I growing to my potential?"

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Don't Just Start a Movement, Maintain a Movement

Stretch Your Capacity to Grow
I have heard it said by many leaders at many different times, "It is far easier to obtain than it is to maintain."

I was in a mentoring class last night and the topic was the "Capacity of Leadership is Wisdom."

God begin to speak to me about capacity. We love to preach about new levels and prophesy new levels. We talk in excitement of new places. The truth of the matter is that God will not allow you to move into a season you cannot inhabit.

Capacity comes only through stretching. That is the truth. If your life is comfortable and things are easy for you, then your capacity has been tapped out and you can prophesy until you are blue in the face, but until you stretch yourself you will never go into a new level.

Stretching hurts. It is like working out. I play basketball on Monday nights for about 2 hours and the next couple of days... I hurt. This pain is not a negative pain, but as one mentor said, "It hurts good."

When I was attending Emmanuel College in 2004, I decided to take N.T Greek. Our professor, Dr. Luper, was a tank driver in the Army. He drove us too! I went to him 3 months into it and said, "Doc, I have to quit. My blood pressure is up. I can't hang out with friends. I work 2 jobs and do youth ministry also." He told me to seek God on this. God told me two days later, "An ucommon anointing requires an uncommon preparation. If you want to remain common, prepare commonly. It won't hurt you a bit to do it commonly." I finished Greek 3 semesters later.

Learning the Greek was not the impact. You can read N.T Greek from a concordance. It was the stretching of concepts and learning at that level that enabled me to stretch to new levels. I would do things in my first few years of ministry, to just stretch myself. I hate preaching from manuscripts. It is boring having to compile a complete manuscript, but I wanted to get better so I took myself out of my comfort zone.

Playing golf is the same way. If you swing the way it is comfortable, you will be very unsuccessful. To learn to swing properly in golf is learning to put your hands in weird positions and it is a very uncomfortable swinging motion.

Expand yourself by:
1) Expose yourself to other models of ministry/organizational leadership. Go to the ones you despise and learn from them.
2) Do something you hate to do everyday. That is discipline.
3) Read, learn, make it HURT GOOD :)

So, are you ready for more capacity?