Monday, October 23, 2017

Why we’re afraid to let young people lead—and how to overcome it...

Love this post from Daisy Rosales at Fuller Youth Institute...and dearly hope more young leaders are released and engaged in the life and mission of the local church...here's a few excerpts that give you some of the main ideas that have to be wrestled with...
In multigenerational church settings, it’s uncommon to see a young person in a prominent position of leadership. In my own experience, the larger the church, the less likely it is for someone in their twenties—or even thirties—to be included in shaping the church as a whole. If you look at the leadership teams of many churches, you’ll notice that few appear to be much younger than 40, and some are far older.  At my church of several thousand, I host a small group of young adults who love Jesus and have so much to offer. One of them leads the microfinance arm of a large international Christian nonprofit. Another uses photography to tell stories of women and men on Skid Row in Los Angeles, individuals many of us would fear to look at, not to mention encounter up close. Yet another spends her weekdays working with children with disabilities as an occupational therapist, then helps with adults with disabilities on Sundays. These people inspire me. And they’re all under 40.
Not all of my friends aspire to greater leadership and influence at their churches, but some of them do. And yet again and again, we run into the doubt, fear, and fixed mentality of leaders who are more convinced of our untrustworthiness than willing to consider our potential.
Acknowledging the potential validity of God’s call on a young person to lead, would we stand in the way? Would we keep her from responding to God’s invitation?
Or would we instead be willing to unleash her to pursue that call?

So perhaps what we need is a better response to the uncertainties inherent to involving young people. And sometimes it’s simply a perspective shift in the question itself.

See the list below:

Objection: Young people “lack life experience.”

A better question: What experiences does this young person bring? 

Objection: Young people “aren’t settled.”

A better question: How might leadership be a part of this young person’s present and future? 

Objection: Young people “make risky decisions.”

A better question: What do I stand to lose if I don’t take the risk to elevate this young person? 

Objection: Young people “may not be able to handle it.”

A better question: What support would help this young person navigate the challenging dynamics at our church? 

Objection: Young people “will make me irrelevant.”

A better question: How will my partnership with this young person accomplish more than we could ever accomplish alone? 

Objection: Young people “aren’t stepping up.”

A better question: Is our current leadership structure preventing young people from offering their gifts?P
Read more at this link: 
https://fulleryouthinstitute.org/blog/why-were-afraid

Saturday, August 19, 2017

HOW TO LEAD WHEN YOU'RE NOT IN CHARGE: A New Book Review

A few years ago I listened to a podcast featuring a conversation between Andy Stanley and Clay Scroggins examining the topic of how you can still lead even when you aren't the top dog leader in a team, organization, ministry or group...

The content was so rich that I quickly created a short talk around it that I shared in multiple settings across our Cornerstone University campus...and it was one of the best received talks I had given in a long while...

SO I was thrilled this summer when Clay published a book titled HOW TO LEAD WHEN YOU'RE NOT IN CHARGE (https://www.amazon.com/How-Lead-When-Youre-Charge/dp/0310531578)
expanding and growing the content on this topic that is so compelling for millions of leaders who don't have the positional authority they sometime wish they did...





I recently finished reading it in preparation for another school year of leadership opportunities and responsibilities on our university campus...and I can't wait to share copies of it with some of the incredible student development and athletics young leaders I get to work with on a daily basis...

In particular I love his focus on and development of 4 crucial behaviors for all of us who seek to leverage our influence in those moments when we lack authority:

1. LEAD YOURSELF: you are always in charge of you

2. CHOOSE POSITIVITY: ability to see how what you do fits in the big picture

3. THINK CRITICALLY: we must become better thinkers in ways that benefit others

4. REJECT PASSIVITY: you will never passively find what you don't actively pursue

My professional life has been filled with positions and challenges and experiences where I had the chance to lead and challenge up as a leader...and this book is truly a resource that provides a great theological, practical, and inspirational framework calling everyone to not wait till you have the authority to lead and miss out on leadership moments you will never get back...

There's some great resources available as you share the book with others or use it in a leadership development context for those on your team: https://clayscroggins.com/resources/

I'm always grateful for great leadership reads...hope you get a chance to read this one soon!




Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Root Yourself in Community

Loved these thoughts from Margaret Feinberg...need to be reminded of this often when I run at a pace where I'm falling short when it comes to experiencing real community personally while trying to serve my work community...

You can have all the online friends you want. Just make sure you have more in real life. For eight years, my husband, Leif, and I traveled together. I spoke and he managed me. For several years, we were on the road more than 200 nights per year. My marriage would have dissolved if we didn’t travel together.

During those years, we became detached from our local community. I held onto a handful of long-time friendships, but we were out of sync with a normal paced life. We weren’t free for weekend barbecues or bar mitzvahs with neighbors.

I nurtured long-distant relationships with friends around the country via phone and text, but I missed the local, real-life connection. Since then, Leif and I have nestled into a community and we’re loving every minute of it. No one cares about my profession. They care about me. And that’s a beautiful gift.

Jess and Matt’s kids attack me with bear hugs. Leah hunts treasures with me at garage sales. Ann and Andrea take long hikes with me in the rain. Greg and Jeri share their favorite restaurants. All are all antidotes to that toxic lollipop of online life.
One little secret: I’ve spent a lot of time with the headliners of the largest Christian conferences and all of them—sooner or later—beg to get off the road.
I wish someone had told me that sooner.

https://catalystleader.com/read/catalyst-track-build-a-platform-day-one

Thursday, June 15, 2017

TAKE THE NEXT STEP by Adam Weber

Love this call to action & pursuit of God's often growth producing and risk taking call in our lives from ADAM WEBER...

What I’ve found to be true about most game changers, leaders, and difference makers.  
What I’ve found to be true about most people are who actually doing something worthwhile… is that they really aren’t that much different than anyone else. They’re human. They often feel inadequate. They’re still trying to figure things out. They have doubts. They don’t always know what they’re doing.
THE ONLY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEM AND EVERYONE ELSE IS... INSTEAD OF STANDING STILL. THEY’RE SIMPLY WILLING TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP.
Instead of being limited by their resources. They take the next step.
Instead of always analyzing… and analyzing some more… and… They take the next step.
Instead of waiting until they have (blank). They take the next step.
Instead of waiting until a decision makes complete sense. They take the next step.
Instead of playing things safe. They take the next step.
Instead of waiting until everyone’s on board. They take the next step.
Instead of being frozen by uncertainty. By fear. They take the next step.
Instead of doing only what they can do on their own. They take the next step.
Instead of walking by sight. They walk by faith and… They take the next step.
Instead of dreaming… and dreaming… and dreaming some more. They take the next step.
Instead of just taking one step. One time. Years back. They take the next step.
Is this true about you?
Are you standing still or are you taking the next step?
Is there a step you’ve been putting off?
One that the Lord is clearly asking you to take?
What’s the next step for you?
Take the next step.
Make the phone call.
Make the big ask.
Submit the proposal.
Apply for the job.
Quit your job.
Have the hard conversation.
Send the email.
Sell the house.
Say “yes”.
Say “no”.
Move forward with the project.
Take the next step.

https://catalystleader.com/read/take-the-next-step

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Losing my friend TUESDAY...


A couple years ago my brother and sister in law moved from the chill of Minnesota to the warmth of Naples, Florida. We love being with their family and Naples is definitely one of the best Spring Break destinations around.

On a warm and sunny April night we went to a beautiful spot overlooking the Gulf of Mexico to celebrate the 55th anniversary of Ingrid’s parents. We went to the beachfront restaurant at the RITZ-CARLTON in town and enjoyed great seafood, ocean views, awesome desserts, remarkable service, and the always spectacular Gulf of Mexico sunset.

As our dinner was ending and we walked down the path to the beach my phone buzzed with an update from Facebook. It was from all places Zambia, a message from new friends in a remote village community where we had experienced love and hospitality in astounding ways as part of the new ministry partnerships with our dear friends at Jubilee Centre.

One person in particular had made that visit truly memorable because of his boundless energy, brilliant smile, incredible ingenuity and courage, and love that seemed to spill out from the very heart of Jesus. He was the spiritual leader, the community force in this forgotten village. He made an unbelievable meal for us as a group of 25 people and he listened intently as I shared my passion for developing young leaders here in the African church. He had helped start a school, empowered entrepreneurial women, and was a pastoral presence in a place of real hardship and joy at the same time. His name was Tuesday and I remember him kneeling down in thanksgiving for the copy of my book I gave him along with gear from Cornerstone University he immediately wanted to put on.

Tuesday was a fast friend, a person I prayed for and looked forward to seeing again in our next trip to Zambia. We loved soccer, Zambia, and the people God had entrusted to our care as shepherds of God’s flock. As I looked at my phone the message was simple and devastating from our friend Noel: “We are in sorrow. Tuesday is no more.” I found out later he had passed away following a stroke, far away from modern medical care. In the moment I couldn’t think of anyone who would leave a deeper and bigger hole in lives and a community than this man who had quickly become one of our heroes of the faith on the other side of the world.

Our beautiful Florida night continued as I sent back a short Facebook note telling Noel that we sorrowed with him tonight and that we placed our hope in the resurrection with them when we all could be with Tuesday once again. And then I began in silence to ponder the juxtaposition and tension of the two worlds converging in my life on this day.

There I was at literally one of the nicest spots in our country enjoying an experience where the goal of the staff was to make sure that our every need was met to the fullest of Western contemporary expectations and standards. It was something that my friends in Zambia could never even begin to imagine or ever dream they would experience.

In the midst of those moments the reality of early death, absolute poverty and devastating illness, and immense fear for the future came across the oceans with the cries of a Zambian community that had lost its leader and friend to all. And once again I was faced with a litany of questions and feelings about what I was supposed to feel and do and love in this world and my own life.

Should I never enjoy extravagance and luxury? Was the guilt that often rose up in my heart valid or just my way of trying to cope with the fact that I really didn’t experience the life my friends in Zambia did? How could I live in a way that allowed me to engage and enjoy the people and place God had placed me in America while not forgetting or living differently because of what was taking place in a community God had led me to connect deeply with thousands and thousands of miles away? How do you rejoice and mourn both?

I sat up late myself that night and sent a note out to the students who had been with me in Zambia letting them know that our friend had died and left a huge hole in his family and community. And I thought of the many conversations I had facilitated over the years with those who also felt trapped between these 2 worlds. God’s Spirit reminded me again of 2 things I have come to believe over the last decade or so:

1. Live in and embrace the tension—it’s easy to want to seek to get rid of all the tension and ultimately responsibility in our lives, especially when it comes to things we can’t easily solve. But I am and will continue to be for the rest of my life to live in the middle space where I engage the wealthy world I have lived in all my life and learn from and advocate for the African communities with sometimes overwhelming needs and often a lifestyle that reflects God’s heart and Kingdom values. I must have one foot in each...because I think that is what Jesus did as I see him love the rich and the poor both in the Gospels in ways that transformed them from the inside out and created opportunity for new and fuller lives.

2. We have to let the rest of the world into our daily lives. It’s crucial that I know how my friends in Lusaka or Santo Domingo or even Chicago spend their days and the challenges they are taking on in their lives. It is far too easy to live in my own zip code and to believe that my problems, my issues, my reality is what life is like for others in our global community. I think it matter so much that I know what’s happening across the world and to live with the other in mind rather than continuing to be fixated on my own problems and needs.

I recently was corresponding with my Zambian friend Noel sharing that we were still praying for him and his community. He thanked me and simply told me that I couldn’t understand how much it meant to them that we would still care about their lives and community. In so many ways it felt bizarre and out of place to try and put together the Ritz Carlton and a village without electricity or water or health care. But I think it’s exactly the world God has called me to engage...to learn from another, to share resources from the remarkable blessings when needs are present somewhere else, and to pray that God’s Kingdom would invade both places in wealth and poverty and in arrogance and brokenness...because Jesus would have gone and walked among people on the beach and the dusty village road...and may I walk His path today...CHIP

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Cost of Missionless Students--Doug Franklin, LEADERTREKS

Fantastic piece here by my long time friend Doug Franklin at LEADERTREKS...one of my great life passions is helping this generation of students embrace Kingdom Mission as they engage the church and culture both...read and be moved to response...

Missionless students will likely remain on the fringes of the church never to engage with God’s world or participate in Kingdom work. As youth workers, it’s our job to explain to students the mystery of how God uses His people to carry out His will on earth, and the best way to connect them to a life of service for God is to show them how they are uniquely made for an important role in God’s Kingdom.  
Before we can help them discover their God-given mission, we need to first challenge students’ worldview. Students tend to see the world as revolving around them, but when they are exposed to realities of this world–injustice, poverty, AIDS, slavery, and lack of clean water–they have a greater desire to serve and take risks for God. They begin to ask themselves,“What is God doing in this world, and what part do I play in it?” Once students ask this question, we have an open door to teach them about how their wiring points them to God’s mission for their lives.
“When students discover their burden, their passion, and God’s vision, they will have a roadmap for the mission God has for them.”
When teaching this concept to students, I like to use this formula:
Burden + Passion + Vision = Mission
When students discover these three things, they will have a road map for the mission God has for them. To be clear, the discovery of your burden, passion, and vision will only give you clues to the ultimate mission God has for you. It’s not a silver bullet, but it will point your students in the right direction and give them greater clarity. 
Burden
Simply put, a burden is something that breaks your heart. Many times during the week, I will hear of some great tragedy in the world and think, “Lord, when will it end?” But  then I continue going about my day. But when I hear about a tragedy that involves students, often I will feel led to pray, cry, or do something tangible to help in the situation. My burden is for students, and my heart breaks when I am confronted with students who miss the best that God has for them. We need to help students discover what it is that burdens them in such a way that they, too, want to spring into action. 
Passion

Passion is what you love to do. It’s what gets you up in the morning.  It’s where you feel closest to God and where you sense that He is most pleased with you. My passion is discipleship of students. I feel closest to God when I am sitting in a circle of students and teaching them how to use a prayer journal or a new Bible study method. Students can be passionate about any number of things, and LeaderTreks has created a Passion Survey to aid their discovery.
Vision
Vision is what God is telling you to do, and we come to understand God’s vision through prayer. Only when we get our eyes off ourselves and focus our attention toward God will we discern His will for our lives. I encourage students to have a prayer journal to both write out prayers and to see how God is answering them. Those answers are a great indication of God’s vision for their lives.
Mission

When students put burden, passion, and vision together, they will not only discover their mission, they will also find great joy. Students often ask me, “What happens if I hate the mission God has for me?” I share with them that this formula tells us that we will always love the mission God has for us because it includes our passion.
The truth is that when God wants to do something great, He sends a baby into the world to do it. Your students are those babies, and God has given them everything they need to accomplish the tasks He has planned for them. Prepare them for that mission by helping them discover what breaks their heart, what they are passionate about, and what God is telling them to do. After all, that is our mission.
https://www.leadertreks.org/cost-missionless-students/

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Smarter or Dumber: How We Evaluate Our Intelligence

great piece from TIM ELMORE here...love the questions and the comparisons...

Six Questions to Ask Ourselves as We Build Intelligent Graduates:

1. How can we teach them to be focused without being obsessed?
“A dull person has just as quick a peak reaction time as a brilliant person,” James Flynn said in an interview with LiveScience. “The difference is that someone with a low IQ typically can’t stay focused and so their reaction times won’t be consistent throughout an experiment; their scores vary more widely than those of high-IQ people.”
2. Can we foster free thought yet ensure change leads to moral progress?
Progress means change but not all change means progress. We must instill a moral compass inside students to guide, guard and gauge their choices. C. S. Lewis said, “We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road progress means doing an about turn and walking back to the right road. In that case, the man who turns back the soonest is the one who is most progressive.”
3. Can we help them balance two opposite ideas and see them objectively?
F. Scott Fitzgerald noted, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” This is what enables students to be civilized and wise as they make decisions for themselves, their families and their communities. This is the essence of true critical thinking: The ability to weigh and evaluate all data.
4. Can we be disciplined to listen before we speak and reject the impulse to only think about what we’ll say next?
This one’s tough. Especially since we live in a day of impulsive social media messaging, little critical thought and our innate human need to be heard. We are not a patient population, and I am usually guilty of pondering what I will say in reaction to the person I am speaking with, rather than really listening to their ideas.
5. What must we do to produce graduates who are life-long learners?
Far too often, people finish school and never read another book in their lifetime. They stop seeking, discovering and learning, at least on purpose. Ours is a day of rapid change; we cannot afford to remain “stuck” in thought patterns that may be irrelevant in the future. We must build curious grads who know how to research, identify what’s important and make changes to faulty perspectives.
6. How can we equip students to be both timely and timeless?
Too often, we can assume that a value or virtue from the past is automatically antiquated. I don’t buy that—honesty will always be valuable; discipline will always be valuable. The question is: can we prepare students for jobs that may not exist today, but thoroughly equip them to carry these timeless values with them into the future?
Let’s work to ensure our intelligence translates into wisdom. This means we hear and digest information and learn to “eat the fish and spit out the bones.” Aristotle said it first, “It is the mark of an educated mind to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

https://growingleaders.com/blog/smarter-dumber-evaluate-intelligence/