Tag Archives: leadership

Can Your Vulnerability Be A Gift?

This is the question that Researcher Dr Brene Brown answers. She states in her TED talk that there are two types of people. Those that feel worthy and those who don’t! 

Worthiness is a key motivator that underpins how we navigate relationships with one another and how we lead! She explains that the worthy and those that feel unworthy view vulnerability differently, for one it’s a strength and for the other, it has become a heavy yoke that can be often debilitating.

On the back of over a decade of research in this area, she wrote Dare to Lead. I have been listening to it and coupled with the free workbook has enabled me to dig deep, look at myself and how I work and lead. It’s not easy, but nothing worth doing well ever is, it takes effort time and courage.

If you put shame in a Petri dish, it needs three things to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence and judgment. If you put the same amount in a Petri dish and douse it with empathy, it can’t survive. The two most powerful words when we’re in struggle: me too.”

watch this

I am nearly at the end of the book*, and it’s making me think deeply about leadership and self-worth. It is profound and challenging and a process that you shouldn’t rush, but allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you through it, bringing healing and new life. Get Dare To Lead

Update: I have now read it 3 times, and her other books are just as good, 

Get Dare To Lead

Growing Your Church: Leadership Style Matters

Week three in our discovery in what makes churches grow, we turn our attention to leadership within the church of all kinds and levels.

When we think about leadership I wonder what comes to mind.  There is a spectrum from authoritarian to laissez-faire.  Somewhere along that spectrum, we find a particular leadership style which growing churches are modelling.

This is not to say that there is not value in other leadership styles, but the evidence suggests that there is one particular style that stands out.

As a side note, we are surrounded by these leadership styles all of the time and particular styles relate to particular contexts.  For example, we might like it if a policeman was more laissez-faire if we get pulled over for speeding, but we would want him or her to be authoritarian in arresting the person who stole some money that belongs to you. It is important that people in particular roles have a consistent leadership style and then people know what to expect and feel safe.

That being said our leadership styles naturally become nuanced when faced with particular situations. The person who is caught speeding might actually be speeding because they’re trying to get to the hospital for some reason, and so the policeman would (hopefully) nuance his or her response within the bounds of an authoritarian leadership style.

I digress, according to research the leadership style that stands out above others is the collaborative style.  This is not to say that there are times for authoritarian stances, but in these particular growing churches in traditional denominations, people are allowed to find their role in a collaborative way.

People within these churches are resourced properly and not overburdened by the tasks that they are given. One person does not do all of the jobs but the jobs are shared.  More important roles like the treasurer are broken down into bite-size chunks so that the treasurer doesn’t become overwhelmed.

This model of church and of ministry is not just about the few people of power, but instead, leadership is shared across the whole people of God. This has meant for those churches the people have been enriched and empowered and the churches flourished.

In contrast, there are many in our churches who may sometimes think that they can’t let go of a particular task. The question in that person’s mind becomes who would or could take over, and who could I ask?

All too often there appears to be a lack of volunteers and the assumption for  that  individual who is overburdened is that they will just have to carry on regardless.

In nearly every church I have ministered in I have come across these individuals, they are overburdened and cannot see how they could ever retire.

As church leaders, these are the people who are perhaps in greatest need for our intervention. The cost to their health mentally and physically should concern us.  We should find ways in releasing the burden from their shoulders and sharing it around.

I sat in a stewards meeting and a person expressed their sense of being overburdened.  One by one the other stewards in the room simply declared, “I’ll do that Julie,” to each of the jobs she was trying to give up.

As I sat there and watched this act of grace unfold I found it deeply moving and inspiring to watch collaborative leadership at work, freeing burdens of others and empowering a broader leadership.

As I conclude I would like to refer to the MBA of ministry book, it also highlights the need for a collaborative ministry but also makes the argument that there is one other leadership style on the spectrum between authoritarian and laissez-faire.

That style is known as the shepherd, the shepherd that nurtures, leads, and inspires his sheep. I wonder what kind of leader might you be? Make God bless you in your leadership wherever you find yourself in church and outside of a church.

Link to the research Leading Together in Growing Methodist Churches’ webpage can be found here

Posts in this series:

Church Growth: Hospitality 

Church growth: Inclusively

Please feel free to leave a comment.

The Know it all

We all know one I am sure, that person who always has an opinion, and who is basically according to their own standards always right! Whether thats at the bar, in the office of in the church.

The main faith leaders pre-pentecost were the Pharisees, and they don’t get an easy ride with Jesus. It seams like the faith leaders of the time that were more interested in empire rather than kingdom building. Their empires rather than Gods Kingdom.

The status-quo was important to them, because this was their base of power. The modern day rabbi is a descendent of that Pharisaical system. Similar to modern day church leaders the Pharisees and rabbis have an intensive period of training, there is an expectation of theological and biblical scholarship and understanding.

Yet despite their training the Pharisees couldn’t see the wood from the trees as it were, they couldn’t see the gold from the fools gold.  Even Saul with all his learning couldn’t recognise what the christians were saying. Jesus literally knocked him of his horse to make him see!

So what is it that makes church leaders blind, It is the same thing paul was afflicted, with  disease of knowitallism. There appear to be two main types of knowitallism.

Perhaps the first is as a leader, you believe you are right, if not all the time, because of your training and status, your rightness is undisputed. It’s not just about making sure others know how right you are, but more subtly, not valuing the opinion of others, not questioning what you ‘know’ to be true.

Plenty of christians and church leaders have justified all kinds of things, because they knew they were right. You only have to go back a few years to the church leader, and evangelist Harold Camping who knew unwaveringly that the end of the world was ending October 21 2011! He has since graduated to heaven a few years later! We might laugh at Harold Camping’s notion, but people did believe him and their faith would have been rocked as October 21st came and went. We would do well to learn from his mistake.

The other part of this disease is defined by other people’s perception of you, of you being with the expert and all knowing! As church leaders we mustn’t believe our hype! Because as quickly as it came it will go away again.

Knowitallism keeps us doing the same things, keeps the same people in power and stifles creativity and change. The Pharisees we hear about in the New Testament had the disease and were blinded to what God was doing in their midst.

In the service of the community, I hope I don’t sound like I have it all together. Rather I hope that my actions and speech point people to the one who has got it all together, the one who rose from the dead. I hope for those of us who are church leaders, or indeed those who fill our churches, that we are not so blind to what God is doing in our midst, that we have courage, to stand and be counted on his behalf, rather than that of our own agenda.

Have a good week

Last Weeks  Post : Saying GoodBye

similar themes: Can Church Be As Good As Chocolate 

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