Leading Difficult People – John Maxwell

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This Week’s Great Links

Elim Fellowship Declares War on Malaria by Ron Burgio & Tom Brazell
This fall, Elim Fellowship is declaring war on Malaria. We ask that you join with us in combating the biggest killer in history, MALARIA! We are joining with the Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches of North America (PCCNA) and Word Vision in their War on Malaria. Malaria is history’s biggest killer. In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, it takes the life of a precious child age five or under, EVERY 45 SECONDS! Nearly 2,000 kids die daily from this night predator…almost one million children every year. Mosquitoes ARE Malaria’s weapon of mass destruction. They kill children, they destroy families, and they impoverish communities. Read More.

Ben & Jerry’s, Chick-Fil-A & Political Correctness by Perry Noble
Let me begin by saying I absolutely LOVE Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. (Gonna go ahead and tell you that Oatmeal Cookie Chunk is THE BEST flavor I’ve EVER had!!) A few years ago I went to Wal Mart (the closest thing to hell I can imagine…that and the DMV), found my favorite flavor and decided to tweet that I was purchasing some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream…and doing so “unleashed the hounds” in a sense. Honestly, I’ve never experienced anything like it, “Christians” began @ replying me on twitter condemning me and scolding me for buying this product because apparently Ben & Jerry’s supported gay rights/same sex marriage. Read More.

Good Is The Enemy Of Great by Wayne Hedlund
“Good is the enemy of great.” So says Jim Collins, author of the book Good to Great. Checkout the opening lines from that book: “Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. We don’t have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don’t have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life. The vast majority of companies never become great, precisely because the vast majority become quite good – and that is their main problem.” Read More.

No Dumping: 5 Keys to Effective Delegation by Ron Edmondson
I have seen, and probably been accused of, dumping responsibilities on people inappropriately and calling it delegation. This form of delegation actually does more harm than good for an organization, because it leaves projects undone or completed sub-par, kills employee morale and motivation, and keeps the mission of the organization from reaching its full potential. Recently I asked two of our staff people to whom I delegate frequently how I am doing in this area. It was a good conversation and helped write this post. The bottom line is that delegation involves more than just ridding oneself of responsibility. You can’t dump and run and call it delegation. Read More.

35 Quick and Simple Tips for Better Productivity by Mike Vardy
When people first begin exploring the world of personal productivity and task management, they either don’t know where to start or can’t seem to find their footing when they do. If you’re one of these people, I’ve assembled 35 quick and simple tips for better productivity – ones you can use right away and start to see results in your work and in your life. You don’t need to take on all 35 (in fact, I’d recommend taking on far less and returning to this piece as you feel comfortable taking on more), but each of them can be used to provide you with a sample of what improved productivity feels like. Let’s get started. Read More.

4 Truths Every Pioneer Should Know by Mary DeMuth
Pioneering is hard. It is especially hard for those around them. It is even hard for the pioneers themselves. Through God’s strength, I’ve pioneered a lot of things in my life. I parented my kids in an entirely different way than I was raised (and am still plowing that ground). I broke up the fallow ground of publishing, starting from nothing. And my family and I planted a church in one of the most unchurched places on the planet: France. So I get pioneering. Read More.

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Thursday Quote: Who – The A Method for Hiring

This is a guest post by Pastor Doug Cowburn II. Pastor Doug serves as the Executive Pastor at Elim Gospel Church in Lima, NY. Recently, while sharing lunch together, Doug told me about this book and readily agreed to writing this Thursday Quote about it for your benefit. Enjoy.


Recently, two different people I know recommended that I read, Who: The A Method to Hiring. I found that this book was not only a great resource for when you need to hire someone, but also a great way to look at writing your own job description. If you’re like me, you want to know when you are being successful at your job. The problem is that many who are in ministry are either working without a job description or the one they have is all activity based. Activity based job descriptions say things like:
  • Connects with volunteers
  • Teaches on a regular basis
  • Leads the deacon team

Someone could follow an activity based job description for years and never actually move the needle on the church’s mission. I want to be an “A Player” who delivers his best and contributes toward the church’s vision and mission. In order to do this I need a job description, or as this book suggests, I need a scorecard that gives me some targets to hit.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

“We define an ‘A Player’ this way: a candidate who has at least a 90 percent chance of achieving a set of outcomes that only the top 10 percent of possible candidates could achieve.”

“The scorecard is composed of three parts: the job’s mission, outcomes and competencies. Together, these three pieces describe ‘A’ performance in the role—what a person must accomplish and how. They provide a clear linkage between the people you hire and your strategy.”

“While typical job descriptions break down because they focus on activities, or a list of things a person will be doing (calling on customers, selling), scorecards succeed because they focus on outcomes, or what a person must get done (grow revenue from $25 million to $50 million by the end of year three). Do you see the distinction?”

“Scorecards: • Set expectations with new hires • Monitor employee progress over time • Objectify your annual review system • Allow you to rate your team annually as part of a talent review process.”

As you can see, this book was written primarily for the business world, but it has huge implications for ministry related job descriptions as well.  What would your scorecard look like?

This Week’s Great Links

Unlocking the Secrets of Church Sound by Josh Cummings
Poor sound can be extremely distracting. We’ve probably all been there: the worship leaders mic gives annoying feedback during the service, the preacher sounds like he’s underwater, or you can’t hear the lead vocals over the band during worship. Though it is often a thankless role, the church sound tech has the power to enhance or detract from the communication of the gospel in our church services. With that much depending upon one person, I thought I would give you a few tips on how to improve in this article on the art of mixing. Read More.

Trust: The Glue That Makes Everything Possible by Tony Morgan
I have gained a great deal of insight from Sam Chand’s new book called Cracking Your Church’s Culture Code. Sam’s excerpt on “Trust” was so insightful that I asked him if I could share it on my blog. Trust is vital for any team yet it is fragile and easily destroyed. Fortunately, trust can be rebuilt causing a team to become stronger and healthier. “Mutual trust among team members is the glue that makes everything good possible. Without it, a team quickly disintegrates into a gang of people protecting their turf and forming angry alliances.” Read More.

2012 Challenge for our Catalyst Team by Brad Lomenick
Here are 10 points we discussed and committed to as a Catalyst team earlier this year in January. Thought I would share them so as to motivate or inspire you to challenge your team as well:

  1. Authentic. Be Real. Human. approachable. Guard against hubris.
  2. No sideways energy. Communicate. Focus. Guard against silos and wasted energy.

Read More.

The Reason Many Policies are Written by Ron Edmondson
Many policies are written because someone didn’t want to solve a problem. In her book “Unleashing the Power of Rubber Bands”, Nancy Ortberg talks about the need to differentiate between “a tension to be managed and a problem to be solved“…. Most of the time, in my experience, churches are notorious for creating a new policy to attempt to manage the problem rather than doing the difficult work of solving it. Solving the problem often involves getting personal with people. It involves challenging people. It involves change. It involves holding people accountable to a higher standard. That’s messy. It’s never fun. Most churches like neat, clean and seemingly easy. (Just being honest.) Read More.

How to Make the Host Ask: The 2012 Version by Mark Howell
(Note: Mark uses the term ‘Host’ to indicate small group facilitators.)
Getting ready to recruit HOSTs for an upcoming church-wide campaign? Let me give you my best shot at some keys to maximizing your impact. Here are what I think are the keys to maximizing the harvest. Read More.

Create a Content Strategy for Your Church Website by Bryan Young
Content Strategy is becoming more and more popular among web professionals — both the idea and the implementation. More focus has gone into design, user experience, and techniques of getting people to websites that the reason people come to websites can get lost. Of course, I’m talking about the content, itself. “Content strategy plans for the creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content.” (Kristina Halvorson) Just like you wouldn’t begin a sermon without first coming up with a topic, researching, and planning, you shouldn’t do the same with the content on your website. Everything successful, from businesses, to books, to websites, begins with goals and figures out the best way to achieve them. Read More.

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Don’t Miss Your Life Video

I ran across this great 4 minute video over on epicparent.tv the other day and just had to share it. Powerful and relevant. Hopefully, this doesn’t hit too close to home. Whether it does or not, it would be a great opener to a message on parenting. Enjoy.

If you can’t see this video, try clicking this link.

I have to wonder, how many of us are ‘missing our life’ and don’t even travel? God give us the courage to be the men and women of God you’ve called us to be for our kids!

Thursday Quote: Enchantment – Enchanting Volunteers

I recently heard about a gentleman who left his church (after many years) because he had nothing important to do there. While he was telling his story, he included the fact that the church he was currently involved in almost immediately got him involved in ministry and he is active, excited, and doing a lot more than he ever imagined he would. He’s also considering full time ministry as a result.

It can be very difficult to recruit church-goers into ministry roles. Some shy away from it altogether; and many who do recruit people for ministry often do so apologetically. In today’s Thursday Quote I’d like to share an awesome excerpt from the book Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions by Guy Kawasaki. Although the author makes no claims to Christianity, I’ve found many of the ideas and principles in this book apply directly to Christian Leadership.

How to Enchant Volunteers
Volunteers help organizations all over the world, and they are essential for the welfare and success of educational, environmental, social, religious, and other philanthropic causes. While the techniques already discussed in this chapter also pertain to volunteers, these folks deserve their own rules for enchantment: 
  • Set ambitious goals. Volunteers want to know that what they are doing is important and that they are making a difference. Your obligation is to set challenging goals and not waste their time. If there’s anything worse than overusing volunteers, it’s underusing them.
  • Manage them well. When people believe, they want to help, and it’s your responsibility to enable them to help as much as they can This includes planning and organizing how you’ll utilize their activities. You may not be paying them, but their time is still valuable.
  • Enable them to fulfill their needs. Why do people join a nonprofit organization? There are three principal reasons: duty (“I should help my kid’s school”), belonging (“I like doing things with people”), and mastery (“Learning a new skill is more important than money”). Fulfill these needs, and you’re on the way to enchanting your volunteers.
  • Ensure that the paid staff appreciates them. You and your employees must believe in the value of volunteers – if you lack this belief, maybe you should not recruit them. Volunteers often give their heart and soul to an organization, so it’s important that your paid staff appreciates their efforts.
  • Give feedback. People want to know how well they are doing. With volunteers, this is doubly important because you can’t use compensation as a feedback mechanism. So after you set your ambitious goals, provide feedback, and they’ll love you for helping them learn how they are progressing.
  • Provide recognition. Recognition comes in small forms for volunteers: business cards, an e-mail address, a workspace (even if it’s shared), attendance at conferences and public and private expressions of gratitude. See anything that’s expensive on this list? Good, because there isn’t.
  • Invite them in. At least once a year, invite your volunteers into your headquarters. This enables people to meet face-to-face instead of only virtually. Remember the value of proximity to achieving likability? The same concept applies to volunteers.
  • Provide free stuff. “Stuff” means food and drink at working sessions as well as T-shirts and other forms of tchotchkes. Unfortunately, these kinds of goodies are often the first thing an organization cuts when going gets tough, but, dollar for dollar, they are among the most cost-effective forms of compensation that you can offer.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

This Week’s Great Links

The Avengers’ Top 10 Tips for Building Remarkable Teams by Bryce Christiansen and Michelle Agner
In the early 90’s I was that little boy who thought he was Wolverine. I would hack and slash my way across the playground as I stuck sticks between my clenched fists and fought trees until they were scraped up like a knee hitting pavement.  Being Wolverine, I was the best at what I did, and what I did was get cancer. My arch-nemesis quickly became Leukemia and – just like Wolverine – I planned to overcome it with my intense healing abilities.  Why the other children in the cancer ward hadn’t thought of this puzzled me. Read More.

Five Online Giving Lessons for Churches by Matt Branaugh
A report issued in February by a major provider of fundraising technology and consulting services offers some helpful insights for church leaders as it relates to online giving. Read More.

Feeling Overwhelmed? by Brad Lomenick
As leaders, many times we take on way more than we can handle. We intuitively know it’s not healthy or the best solution, but we feel like it’s “our duty.” Anyone with me on this? We feel the responsibility, so therefore we are willing to roll up our sleeves and take on more. This ends up affecting our families, our own personal life, our team, and organizations. Read More.

3 Reasons Pastors Are More Vulnerable to Internet Porn by Eric Dye
Pornography is a sensitive subject. Not only is it unquestionably wrong, but the statistics tell us that a good deal of men are ensnared. Pastors are not ‘above it’, they are real men with real temptations. I would even go as far to say that pastors have a harder time of things. Not only is there a lot of pressure being a pastor, but there’s a spiritual element that cannot be ignored. Strike the shepherd and scatter the flock. Here are three rectifiable reasons why pastors are more vulnerable to Internet pornography. Read More.

Porn: The Secret Sin Destroying Your Church by Covenant Eyes
Pornography is prevalent everywhere today. In fact, one in eight online searches is for pornography. Because pornography thrives in secrecy, many members of your congregation may be trapped in a cycle of sin and shame, thinking that they’re the only ones facing the temptation. Download our free e-book, Porn-Free Church: Raising up gospel communities to destroy secret sins, to find out how you can help your congregation find freedom from porn in the Gospel. Read More.

Just For Fun: Cell Phones In Church

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Good Is The Enemy Of Great


“Good is the enemy of great.” So says Jim Collins, author of the book Good to Great. Checkout the opening lines from that book:

Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. We don’t have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don’t have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life. The vast majority of companies never become great, precisely because the vast majority become quite good – and that is their main problem.

This paragraph inspires me to do things great. I don’t always succeed, but I have learned to regularly ask myself if I’ve gotten into the rut of settling for ‘good’. In fact, I suspect I could rewrite that opening sentence this way too:

Good is the enemy of excellence.

If good represents mediocrity, sameness, getting by and ‘good enough’, then it certainly is the enemy of greatness, excellence, high standards and ‘going above and beyond’. In fact, I suspect ‘good’ is worse than ‘bad’. Everyone understands bad, poor, below average and ‘not good enough’. ‘Bad’ practically shouts, “Change!” while ‘Good’ whispers, ‘Stay the same.’

I wonder what areas you are doing ‘Good Enough’? I’d like to challenge you to honestly ask what areas you need to pray and work towards ‘great’ this year. I’ve already identified mine.

  • Spiritual Disciplines?
  • Marriage Enrichment?
  • Parenting?
  • Health?
  • Mentoring Others?
  • Leading Meetings?
  • Overseeing Staff or Volunteers?
  • Preparing Messages?
  • Managing Your Money/Resources?
  • What else?
Image compliments of Stuart Miles at www.freedigitalphotos.net.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

This Week’s Great Links

The Power of Really Listening: A Tribute to Stephen Covey by John Hester
One of my mentors, Stephen Covey, passed away this week. No book, other than the Scriptures, has had a more significant impact on my life than his The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The 7 Habits is more than a business book or a self-help book. It is a book about how to be a better human being in all areas of life. And what made it even more impactful for those who knew Stephen is that he modeled what he taught. Of all of the seven habits, none has changed my life more than Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood. Read More.

When Leadership Fails by Jeremy Statton
Rainy days. Flat tires. The worst case scenario. As the saying goes, it happens. And so does poor leadership. Leadership failures are often the result of: Poor planning, Inexperience, Stubbornness, Lack of vision, Pride. It happens more often than we would like to admit, especially when it is our fault. Read More.

How A Shift In Your Vocabulary Can Instantly Change Your Attitude by Michael Hyatt
This past year I have noticed how my vocabulary impacts my attitude. Words have power. They impact others, of course, but they can also have an impact on us. For example, several weeks ago, I was headed out of town to a speaking engagement. A friend called and asked me where I was going. I said, “Oh, I’m headed to San Jose. I have to speak at a convention.” I said it with a little resignation in my voice. When I hung up, it hit me. I don’t have to speak. I get to speak. That instantly changed my attitude. Read More.

Speaking in Tongues – Using Christianeze by Sloan Inns
When I first moved to America from my homeland of South Africa, I was struck by something unexpected. No, it wasn’t the variety of accents, “Super Sized” foods, Humvee’s or massive shoe collections; it was something far stranger! The first instance I noticed this phenomenon was in a conversation with a potential employer whom I respected. It was an incredibly awkward moment where I almost died of embarrassment because I truly thought my ‘friend’ was a being a total jerk! Basically, he kept goading me and making fun of me … little did I know on that day I was being introduced to another new “friend”: Sarcasm. Read More.

This is Church by Wayne Hedlund
I stumbled across this video clip while reading my blogs last week and couldn’t help but share it with you. What a great video animation about the mission of the local church. The creators, Kelly and Niki Tshibaka own the rights to this video and have given permission for others to use it. Watch Now.

Two Lists You Should Look At Every Morning by Peter Bregman
The speed with which information hurtles towards us is unavoidable, and it’s getting worse. But trying to catch up is counterproductive. Strategic advisor Peter Bregman explains how two simple lists can help us organize what’s important. The world is moving fast and it’s only getting faster. So much technology. So much information. So much to understand, to think about, to react to. A friend of mine recently took a new job as the head of learning and development at a mid-sized investment bank. When she came to work her first day on the job she turned on her computer, logged in with the password they had given her, and found 385 messages already waiting for her. Read More.

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This Week’s Great Links

Johari Window For The Local Church by Wayne Hedlund
I visited a church a while back that had a BIG blind spot. At least, it seemed like a blind spot to me. I could see the problem, but none of the leaders seemed to realize it was there. The problem was that they really believed they were a friendly church, but in reality they weren’t . . . unless you were an insider. I was greeted at the door, which was nice; but from that point forward I became invisible. People actually seemed to work hard at avoiding eye contact with me! This ‘Blind Spot’ is really hurting them – mostly because they are blind to the problem, while it’s painfully obvious to every guest who darkens their door. Read More.

How Going To The Hospital Is Like Going To Church by Chris Ruddell
I’m writing this article from the hospital room where my wife is about to give birth to our first child! Being a pastor, I’m no stranger to hospitals. But whenever you get to experience things from the other end you notice all kinds of things you otherwise wouldn’t have. And so it got me thinking: going to the hospital can be a lot like visiting a church for the first time. Read More.

Reaching The Unplugged by Jon Rogers
The rise of the Internet, new media and mobile technology has ushered church communications into a new digital era. As a result, churches have worked hard to create a flawless user experience, engaged social networks and search engine optimized websites. We’ve come far but I fear we’ve left people behind. Meet the “unplugged.” Read More.

What Poisons A Team Quickly by Brad Lomenick
I’ve been reminded recently of the constant tension on a team. And…. the Tension is Good. We talked about this and leaned into this phrase before, and actually dealt with it as an event theme back in 2010 at Catalyst Atlanta. The right kind of tension is important for teams, as well as for individuals. It stretches and shapes and allows for growth. But there are other things that can creep into a team and poison it quickly. Things that sneak up fast and before you know it, start to define the team and take everyone off course. In the wrong direction. Headed the wrong way. Read More.

10 Organizations Creating Great Worship Music by Brad Lomenick
Here are some organizations (churches primarily), that in my opinion, are writing, creating, singing and releasing great songs for the entire Church around the world to sing. This is not an exhaustive list or a top ten list. Just wanted to provide this so you will be able to check out all of their music and maybe include some of their songs into your rotation and put on your iTunes list. Read More.

Why Go To A Church Service When You Can Watch Online? by Tim Stevens
This was a great question posed to me last week by a good friend. He forced me to stop and think about what I believe. See if you agree or not. (Also includes, “Why Provide Online Church Services”) Read More.

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