Archive for: October, 2012

The Leader and Momentum

Oct 29 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

by John Lindell

No matter the type, size or age of an organization, momentum is an invaluable commodity. When it comes to momentum leaders look better than they actually are, followers perform better than usual and change is easier. Without momentum, everything is much harder and capable leadership can appear inept. While it is true that every church or ministry experiences seasons of momentum, a leader abdicates responsibility when they relegate momentum to time and chance. 

Mission and Momentum

Some may scoff at the idea that the church leadership should dedicate serious consideration to a commodity that is far more likely to be discussed in the business world than in an ecclesiological context. After all, the church is not a business. The problem with that attitude is that the business community recognizes the value of momentum, because they know how crucial it is for growth. Yet, church leaders, who would readily admit that they are charged with declaring the greatest truth and carrying out a mission with eternal implications, proportionally invest far less time in thinking about cultivating momentum. If our mission is important then momentum is important.

 The Momentum Equation

As a pastor, when I think about momentum, it comes down to a simple equation:

the attitude of the leaders (paid or volunteer) + the atmosphere of the organization + the accomplishments of the people (by the power of the Holy Spirit) = MOMENTUM!

First,  it is important to recognize that momentum begins with the leaders. You will never see momentum in your organization unless it is first present in the attitude of your leaders. It is fascinating to look  at Israel’s history with this in mind. Think of the first four kings of the nation:

1) Saul lacked momentum

2) David created momentum

3) Solomon built on the momentum and

4) Rehoboam stopped the momentum

Momentum begins with the attitude of the leader

What you see in David and Solomon, along with any other leader who will positively affect the momentum of their organization, is that they are leading in vision and enthusiasm. Vision, because you have to know where you are going and enthusiasm, because you have to be excited about where you are going. The bottom line is that you cannot kindle a fire in another person’s heart until it is burning in your own. Momentum starts with the leaders.

Second, momentum is contingent on the atmosphere of an organization. Though every organization has its unique characteristics, the factors that create momentum are constant and include: expectancy, energy, sacrificial commitment, encouragement, confidence, community and celebration of victories. Any place or ministry with momentum will include healthy doses of each of the above.

Finally, momentum is cultivated by the accomplishments of people empowered by the Holy Spirit. Dependence on the Holy Spirit is a non-negotiable. As people align themselves with the Spirit’s work and see through His eyes, great things will happen and, in response, celebration is appropriate. Often we see something great take place and, instead of pausing to celebrate what has happened, we plow right on to the next thing. The Bible is filled with examples of people taking time to celebrate their victories. Celebration should not only be the response to the victories brought by the momentum of the Holy Spirit working in our lives and ministry, but the very act of celebration sustains and produces additional momentum.

For the church to give time and energy to the cultivation of momentum is absolutely within the purview of its mission as it seeks to unite and energize people around the profound task that God has ordained it to accomplish. Give the time and energy necessary to cultivate momentum!

John Lindell is the Lead Pastor at James River Assembly in Ozark, MO. This post has been adapted from leadership coaching he does with the James River Assembly staff.  ©2012 James River Assembly. All rights reserved.

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Becoming a Best-Self Person

Oct 22 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

by Michael Goldsmith

A few years ago, Bruce Wilkerson’s book The Prayer of Jabez took the nation by storm, selling in excess of 8.7 million copies. It was featured on nearly every best seller list, including #1 for both the New York Times and USA Today. It received the 2001 Book of the Year Gold Medallion Award as well as many others.

The book is an expanded commentary of the prayer of Jabez as recorded in 1 Chronicles 4:9–10 (NASB):

Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother named him Jabez saying, “Because I bore him with pain.” Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!” And God granted him what he requested.

There is one statement I suggest is the key to being a “best-self” person. It’s found in verse 9, “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers.” Today’s English Version translates it this way: “He was the most respected member of his family.” In other words, Jabez was a best-self person.

I submit to you that each of us has three different selves we exhibit: (1) our worst self, (2) our good enough self, and (3) our best self. These fall on a continuum, with our worst self anchoring one end, our best self the other, and our good enough self squarely in the middle.

Our worst self is fairly self-explanatory—it is when we act our worst. We all have times when the worst comes out of us. We lose our temper, let our darker emotions control us, or lash out toward others. Examples of worst-self living abound.

Next is our good enough self—when we let mediocrity reign. The good enough motto is “good enough to get by.” This self is a grade “C” on the report card of life. It gets you through. You don’t make the honor roll, but you’re not failing either. I believe many of us live the vast majority of our lives from the good enough self. It defines the norm.

Finally comes our best self. Best self is “best of effort.” When we live from our best self, we add value to others, honor God, and raise our own self-esteem. All of us have moments of best-self activity. Those are the times highly prized in your mind: You could not have been better, done it better, or lived it better.

Our best self is energizing. We’re proud of ourselves, and we make a vital contribution to whatever we put our hand to. The best self breeds life, recharges our batteries, contributes more than it consumes, and raises us and those around us to a higher, better life.

Consistently living from your best self is the key to becoming a “most respected member” of family, society, church, community, and the nation. It’s not our worst self that competes against the best; it’s our good enough self that’s the real culprit.

Why not decide, as much as possible, to live a best-self life. Make a decision that more times than not, you’re going to live from the best-self side of you. By living from your best self, you’ll become your own best-seller.

Michael Goldsmith has pastored congregations in North Little Rock, Conway, Pine Bluff and Siloam Springs, Arkansas, and Tulsa, Oklahoma. He now serves with Global University as Director of Advancement for a project in a sensitive country. You can reach him at mgoldsmith@globaluniversity.edu

 

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Pumpkin Talk

Oct 15 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

by Carolyn Hittenberger
 
Are you looking for a seasonal illustrated message that will capture the attention of young and old alike? Here is a keeper!

To fulfill her Service Learning Requirement, Global University student, Cynthia, from California, found a way to teach her Missionettes an unforgettable lesson. In the context of games and activities that go along with the Fall Festival at her church, Cynthia wanted to bring an age appropriate message of salvation.

She began with a chalk board illustration showing that sin has caused a chasm between God and man. Cynthia related God’s amazing plan to send His Son to be our Savior. She drew a cross bridging the chasm, explaining that Jesus lay down His life to pay for our sin.

With great care she explained the ABCs of salvation:

  1. Admit that we are sinners (Rom. 3:23)
  2. Believe in Jesus to forgive our sins (Acts 16:31)
  3. Confess our sins (John 1:9)

She completed the lesson using a pumpkin as a visual. She carefully chose the pumpkin and scrubbed it clean, just as God chooses and cleanses us.

She cut out the top and scooped out the seeds explaining that God removes from us the seeds of doubt, jealousy, disobedience, and all kinds of sin.

After carving a cross shaped opening in the pumpkin, Cynthia placed a candle inside the pumpkin and lit it. She explained that in the same way, when we accept Christ as Savior, His Presence in us shines out to the world around us.

Cynthia understood that it is difficult to “relate a complex subject in a very simple manner” that young children can understand. She found that she had to “condense the message to a few specific points.”

So simple and clear was the message that five girls prayed to accept Jesus as Savior and promised to serve Him. Cynthia reported, “Through the help of the Holy Spirit they [children] can receive the Word and grasp more than you imagine….” The same is true of adults.

Jesus said in Matthew 18:3, “…unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (NIV)

Cynthia wrote, “I… marvel that the Lord can use me in this kind of lesson…” God challenged her through the Student Learning Requirement of her Global University course and placed her in that class of girls to reach them for Him.

He has placed you where you are, as well. Cynthia tells us, “We must be sensitive to the direction of the Holy Spirit.”  A simple chalk drawing, a carved pumpkin, or a personal testimony shared over a cup of tea can bring eternal results.

Global University is challenging students to share the Gospel and “win the lost and train the found everywhere.”                                                                                              

Carolyn Hittenberger is Assistant for the Caribbean Regional Office at Global University and also works with University Communications. For more information about Global University, visit http://think.globaluniversity.edu.

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Looking Back and Looking Forward

Oct 08 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

by Rev. Ron Bontrager

In a few years I’ll be turning the big 6-0 (that’s 6-ohhh), and lately I have been thinking about the “handoff” to the next generation. The usual American pathway to retirement seems to follow this pattern: Sometime during our 60s, primary leaders turn over the reins of leadership to the next generation.

In a relay race the most delicate moment is the moment of the exchange; races can be won and lost in that moment. During the exchange the lead runner is usually in front looking back and the relay runner is behind looking forward. Both postures are important. We must never forget where we have been, but we must always keep an eye on where we are headed. Above all, the baton must not be dropped.

There is a generational rhythm to the Bible. There is always one generation handing the baton of faith off to the next. Somewhere along the line of succession and the faith handoff, there was a big disconnect between Joshua and the next generation. Judges 2:10 is a haunting reminder of the disaster that can occur without a clean handoff:

“When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel.”

I pastor Lakeview Church in Indianapolis, and in five years we will celebrate our 100th anniversary. That’s an amazing accomplishment for any church. During that span two world wars have been fought, a great depression was endured, economies fell and rose, and society changed dramatically. Through it all, one generation succeeded another and the work of God and power of God remains.

For instance, the first handoff happened between the founding pastor, Maria Woodworth Etter, and the second pastor, Thomas Paino, Sr. Tom arrived at Lakeview in the fall of 1933 given the task of rekindling the fire of what was now a struggling church with only a handful of burning embers. As he surveyed the church building, Tom opened a door to a room that was full of crutches, wheelchairs, and other medical paraphernalia—all signs of God’s power to heal and set free. It was a stark reminder of what had been and a call for what could be again. Tom went on to build a great church and retired in 1969; his son, Thomas Jr., led the church to greatness through 1994. I am only the fourth pastor of Lakeview Church and share in a lineage of effective, fruitful Pentecostal ministry.

I pray that when my race is fully run and it’s time for the handoff, it too will be clean and seamless. Mentoring, modeling, and discipling the next generation are critical keys for those leaders who will someday be called the “previous generation.” Listening, following, and seeking after God’s heart are critical keys for emerging leaders who will soon enough be called the “succeeding generation.”

God help each one of us to do it well! 

 Rev. Ron Bontrager is Lead Pastor at Lakeview Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. For more information about Lakeview, please visit www.lakeviewchurch.org

 

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