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May 31, 2005

Seven Principles of Transformational Leadership -- Creating A Synergy of Energy

Erik Rees, one of Saddleback Ministry team, wrote this article which we found on Pastors.com, an outreach of Saddleback. Find the full text of the article along with a self-scoring assessment here.

Leaders of Purpose-Driven churches not only are called to authentically model the five Biblical purposes mandated by Jesus in the Great Commandment and Great Commission, they depend on the seven principles of transformational leadership to create a synergy of energy within their flock.

1. Principle of Simplification – The ability to articulate a clear, practical, transformational vision which answers the question, "Where are we headed?"

2. Principle of Motivation – The ability to gain the agreement and commitment of other people to the vision.

3. Principle of Facilitation – The ability to facilitate the learning of individuals and teams. Peter Senge in The Fifth Discipline says the primary job of leadership now is to facilitate the learning’s of others.

4. Principle of Innovation - The ability to boldly initiate prayerful change when needed.

5. Principle of Mobilization – The ability to enlist, equip and empower others to fulfill the vision.

6. Principle of Preparation - The ability to never stop learning about themselves with and without the help of others. Rick Warren says, "Leaders are learners."

7. Principle of Determination – The ability to finish the race. A leaders' mission is sometime difficult and their journey often lonely. Leaders depend on their stamina, endurance, courage and strength to finish each day.

Erik Rees is the Minister of Life Mission at Saddleback Church. Erik starts his doctorate next year in Strategic Leadership at Regent University. Erik's life purpose is to help organizations focus their resources by creating a synergy of energy within their circle of influence.

Posted by atl at 08:29 AM | Comments (0)

May 30, 2005

City on a Hill Film Productions

City on a Hill creates high quality short films to reach younger generations and the unchurched.

They support the work of local churches by producing powerful, professional-quality short films and video resources, specifically designed for use in a worship setting.

You can preview and purchase their videos on the site. Here's how they describe themselves.

City on a Hill Productions is called to serve God’s purposes through the gift of visual media.

God has called us to serve Him in these 3 ways…

1. Equipping Churches: Providing resources for churches to supplement the sermon and music with a third dimension.

2. Supporting Ministries: Many ministries need fundraising and awareness tools, we are here to provide a resource video that they could not otherwise afford.

3. Reaching Out to the Unchurched: We believe that media is a tool and weapon that can be used in the fight to win people's hearts to Christ. For far too long a generation of media savvy individuals hasn’t been effectively taught about God’s love in the way that they understand it…through media. We want to influence today’s culture through evangelism that speaks the same language and is best suited to the needs of the gospel.

City on a Hill Productions
13149 Middletown Industrial Blvd.
Suite 206
Lousville, KY 40223

Posted by atl at 09:52 AM | Comments (1)

May 28, 2005

Emotional Intelligence Inventory

Contrary to popular opinion, IQ and Educational Achievement only correlate to 1/3 of the reason leaders achieve success. Academic research shows that 2/3 of the leader's success can be attributed to a range of behaviors called Emotional Intelligence. Daniel Goleman, author of Working with Emotional Intelligence and the Hay Group, a consulting firm, have created an Emotional Competence Inventory. You can get a flavor of this work by browsing their site. You will find a listing of their services here.

You will find a sample survey here.

Posted by atl at 05:52 PM | Comments (0)

May 13, 2005

Anatomy of a Committee and a Team

For those who have not witnessed or experienced how true teams function, generally the perception is, "Call it a team, call it a committee; it’s the same thing." But that's far, far from true. Committees, for years, have been millstones around the neck of the congregation. Teams, whether you see them as a phenomenon of the 21st Century or the 1st Century, are the way for the Church to really move forward in it's Christ-given mission centered in making disciples.

Today, in most 20th Century organizational model congregations, there are six to nine standing committees, whether they are active and functioning or not. For decades there has been more and more of a challenge to get people to serve on these committees. The typical response is, "I want to help, but please don't ask me to be on a committee." Many congregations have given up trying to keep one, a few, or even all of these committees active.

There are probably few congregations that do not desire change to some degree. The one thing you cannot do, however, is make a simple jump or transition from committees to teams. There are churches that mistakenly think the starting point is simply to rename their standing committees as teams. Please do not do that; you are digging a deeper hole. If you want a gentle transition rather than an aggressive makeover, begin teams gradually that identify with one standing committee or another.

At whatever point you begin teams, make sure those who make up a team have some perception of what a team is, and that you will be coaching them into a team identity along the way. The anatomy of a committee and a team presented here is to help you do that.

To see the comparison of Committee and Team side by side, download the attached word document here. Download file

Work as a Committee
· A committee has a defined area of responsibility. If it is an on-going committee for the congregation, generally that description of responsibility is spelled out in the congregation’s bylaws or continuing resolutions.
· A committee's specified areas of responsibility translate into items on an agenda. That agenda requires the primary attention of the committee.
· It becomes obvious the committee must meet regularly to accomplish the tasks spelled out in its agenda. As a result committees generally meet on the same weekday and week of each month.
· The committee needs officers to efficiently run the committee’s meetings, minimally a chairperson and secretary for minute taking. Chairpersons are responsible for the agenda.
· Most committees pay attention to at least their perception of Robert's Rules of Order to conduct their meeting. Few committees fully understand that order but use the parts of it they feel they need.
· Committees approach their task from finding the best solutions to the problems or tasks laid before the committee.
· Committees gather to make decisions about the ministry. What is sought is a single view, presentation and method as the solution. Decisions are often shaped by the perception of what the congregation desires or wants.
· Since most committees are answerable to the Congregation Council, there is a member of the committee who is liaison to the Council and regularly reports to it.
· Many congregations elect or appoint councilmembers to each committee. This way they really keep an eye on the committee.
· Committees, as part of and by virtue of the very organizational structure of the congregation, have their primary focus on the membership of the congregation and only then on the parish area or community around the church.
· Goals set by the congregation, Council or a planning group determines the objectives of the committee. Strategic planning is shaped by those goals and objectives.
· Committee frustration begins to set in when they realize that they are meeting every month but are not gaining ground with solutions to the problems and tasks they need to accomplish.

Work as a Team·
· A team ideally has one area of ministry on which to focus. When that area of ministry has been accomplished often the team is dispersed. If that area of ministry is ongoing, so is the team. Too many responsibilities requires sub-teams or additional teams.
· The area of ministry adopted by the team takes shape as they go about the ministry. No one "assigned" them with predetermined single or multiple responsibilities.
· Even though strategy may begin "work as we meet," as purpose and direction become clear there is a shift to "meet as we work" or simply "carrying out the ministry." There is no need for teams ever to just "meet.".
· Teams do not need an appointed or entitled officer. All effective teams find they have a "key leader," generally the one having the greatest passion and vision for that ministry.
· Since teams don't "meet," they need no guidance to conduct meetings. All team members are seen as leaders, and at some stage of the ministry each will step forward and lead. Permission-giving is the key.
· Team members consult with each other as they go about their ministry as to how they can best grow disciples for Christ.
· Teams welcome multiple views, exposure and methods. They even welcome conflicting views knowing that as the team works to resolution it is the ministry that will benefit from additional perspectives.
· What teams do is answerable to the mission and vision given to the congregation by God. That is the focus of accountability for the team’s ministry.
· In transformed congregations, ministry is not managed by the Congregation Council. The Council is to manage instead the business affairs of the congregation.
· Teams, called to ministry by God and made up of persons with spiritual gifts for that ministry, have their primary focus on making disciples for Christ. The congregation is backup to the team but never the objective or primary focus.
· Since teams are called to ministry by God and not appointed or directed by the Congregation Council, goals, etc. are set by those closest to the ministry.
· Since team members are working within their passion and not wasting 80% of their time in meetings, burnout never becomes an issue. They clearly sense their call and role in the mission/vision.

Teams operate in an atmosphere of trust and permission-giving, knowing that unless what they intend to do fits into the mission and vision given the congregation by God, they DO NOT do it. Even though the trust and permission-giving is huge, because of the commitment to God's mission and vision, the congregation actually becomes a tighter ship. The accumulative effect in the congregation is one of being "all business," God's business. That's what it needs to be, because far too many congregations today spin their wheels with member desires, believing that's what it's all about, but gaining very little or nothing for Christ.

For further reading, see Building Trust in the Body of Christ, The Body of Christ as Ministry Team, and Building Effective Teams.

Posted by atl at 10:05 AM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2005

Trust Part 1: Building Trust in the Body of Christ

As we begin to build permission-giving, gift-oriented ministry, there is a key variable that does not get the attention it deserves: trust. To empower people requires trust. Our current Council/Committee structure requires permission granting in lieu of trust. In the permission-giving model, when an initiative surfaces, the leader asks the one proposing the idea three questions:

What does that do to move us closer to the vision?
What does this do to involve you in the accomplishment of our vision?
Are there two or three people here who agree and will team up with you to make this happen?

If there are positive responses to these three questions, no further permission is needed; the person is unleashed to create the new initiative. Of course, this model depends upon clarity of mission and vision.

In the typical Council/Committee structure, any new initiative must go through several layers to receive permission. First, a proposal needs the support of one of the standing committees. If it first arrives on Council's doorstep, it typically will be tabled until the appropriate committee can pass judgment. Then, with the committee approval, the initiative comes before the Council, which has the right to approve most initiatives. Some initiatives require Congregational approval before being enacted. These steps can take six months or longer to get to a yes. Oftentimes, the one proposing the new idea has already become frustrated and convinced no one wants to try anything new around here long before permission is received.

The stark difference in these two systems is the level of trust required. We begin to write rules and regulations when we cannot trust people to act in good faith on their own. We spell things out in Constitutions and Bylaws to make sure people do not stray from the accepted course. Instead of coaching people, equipping and developing them, we give them a rulebook. Unfortunately, those things we codify in our Constitution may not work today as well as they did twenty years ago. However, when we start to suggest changing the Constitution, eyebrows raise, and the Robert’s Rules folks come running to make sure nothing sacred is lost in the changes. Where is trust in all this codifying of behavior?

So, then, how do we build trust at the core of the body of Christ?
My EMBA class visited Tokyo and Hong Kong to study business in other cultures. We heard a Human Resources executive with Motorola explain their development process. To grow empowered employees, they emphasize:
Trust Yourself, Be Trustworthy, Trust
As they explained it, you must first trust yourself. If you cannot trust yourself, you can never trust another. As you begin to trust yourself, you build a foundation for trusting relationships by being trustworthy. You demonstrate that you are someone who can be trusted. The final step is to trust. In our setting, we would add one step. I would say we must first trust God.
Trust God, Trust Yourself, Be Trustworthy, Trust
This is risky, and leaves you vulnerable. It also takes a significant investment in building relationships. Jesus demonstrated this by spending the vast majority of his time with the few.

Consistency and Competency, two building blocks of trust.
Trust is what my statistics professor would call a dependent variable. You cannot work directly on building trust; it is dependent on several other factors. We have already mentioned relationship. Jesus entrusted his disciples with the most important task of all time, bringing the Gospel to the whole world, the Great Commission. To prepare them for this assignment, Jesus invested his three years of public ministry with this core group of leaders. They lived together, ate together, slept together, learned together, cared for each other. So, leaders who want to trust and empower a core team must invest the majority of their time with this small group. It is the small group that will impact the others. Out of this shared time, trusting relationships can grow.

I say can, because it does not always happen. People are rightfully skeptical of leaders who claim to point the way. The Bible tells us many will come along and mislead the flock. One of the key building blocks of trust is consistency. Is the leader’s behavior consistent with his or her message? Are we walking the talk? Are we investing our time and money in the things we say are important to us? Any inconsistency here will invalidate our message. Further, are we consistent in our trajectory? Wayne Gretzky said, "I try to skate where the puck is going, not where it is." He tried to anticipate the flow of the game and the moves of his teammates, and arrive in the right place to strike.

Over time, a good leader will set a consistent course that will allow others to anticipate where the trajectory is headed. They can then initiate action to prepare for where the leader is going. You only need to try that once, and see the leader zigzag off in a different direction to say, "I won’t try that again." Inconsistency in the leader freezes the followers in their tracks. They don't want to take off in a direction only to find out leader has changed his/her mind, and that the direction they took was wrong. This is called walking out on a limb and having it sawed off behind you. As the old saying goes, "First time, shame on you, second time, shame on me." So, leaders who set a course, and stick to it will be trusted much more than those who are constantly changing their mind.

The second key trait is competency. People grow to trust people who can get things done. Nothing inspires trust like a proven track record. Those who propose grand visions without a history of successful completing previous goals will have little credibility. If you say you will do something, can people count on it getting done? I know key leaders in the church who have lost all credibility with their people because they set an ambitious vision before the people and could not get traction on getting it done. When people see this, the next time the leader proposes something, the response is, "Yeah, right. I’ll believe it when I see it."

Another key component of competency is the quality of people you bring onto your leadership team. If you are not quick to act when people on your team are not performing, those around you reach one of two conclusions. Either the leader is not aware of the shortcoming or is unwilling to confront poor performance. Either diagnosis points to incompetence.

Pastors, whether or not you have the gift of leadership, your people are looking to you as their spiritual leader. If leadership is not your gift, it is all the more important that you surround yourself with a team of trusted leaders who can bring strength where you are weak. That’s what the Body of Christ is all about. To build that team, invest in relationship, demonstrate consistency and competency, and you will lay the cornerstone of trust. It makes a firm foundation of a healthy Body of Christ. Stay tuned as we explore different perspectives on trust in the coming months.

Posted by atl at 04:04 PM | Comments (0)

What is the Offer?

I recently read an article on Ginkworld called "10 reasons why your church sucks." The author was having coffee with a friend when someone from the friend's old church interrupted them. This person badgered his friend with questions about why he stopped coming to the church until he heard the frustrated response in the title. This article demonstrates a major disconnect in many of our churches today. The offering does not match the needs or wants the people they would like to attract.

What is the offer? In my structural consulting, this is the first question of the strategy process. When I ask this question in doing our Creating What Matters workshop with churches, I usually get blank stares. Then, with prompting, people talk about a "friendly" place, then move on to worship service and the programs currently in place at the church. The response to this question is quite telling. It is clear that rarely has someone really examined what the church is offering, and why someone might be motivated to join.

This question is so fundamental. In the scriptures, we read about the offer of the early church: lives transformed by an encounter with the living God; a calling from God rooted in our gifts to live out one's purpose; the power of the Holy Spirit to endure any hardship; the deep care of a loving community surrounding those who are suffering; an esteemed place for women; a deep commitment despite the potential of torture, prison or death. Compared to the first century church, the offer today is so far removed from this compelling picture that it becomes obvious why churches struggle to grow the fellowship.

How long has it been since your Church Council examined this question? How compelling is the offer described in your Mission and Vision? How deeply embedded are the spiritual practices (the Marks of Discipleship) that lead to transformed lives? Are we modeling a life focused on living out God's plan through our Spiritual Gifts? Is the Holy Spirit flowing mightily in your midst, healing people and changing lives?

If you find your church on a plateau or in decline, you can begin a process to renew health by setting aside several hours and asking your leadership to examine this one question.

As Bill Easum says, there is one question that the unchurched want answered: "What is it about your relationship with Jesus Christ that I can't live without?" When you can give a positive answer to that question, you are getting to the heart of the offer. If you struggle to answer that question in a compelling manner, I invite you to wade deeper into the spirit. Choose discipleship; practice the Marks of Discipleship; discern your spiritual gifts and meditate on God's plan for your life, rooted in those gifts. As we surrender ourselves to Jesus as Lord, we will see God's work in our lives, and develop a compelling answer to that question.

Posted by atl at 03:43 PM | Comments (0)

May 05, 2005

Have you heard about the Christian Cancer Center in Kakinad, India?

Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty or even a hundred times. Mark 4:8

A century ago, an unfortunate, shy, timid, young widow left her small village in India and boarded a train trying to escape from the humility, shame and abuse that was heaped on her by her own family just because her young husband died. With a hope to survive, she wanted to find refuge in the wide world. She had been born into the Brahmin caste of the Hindu religion. As was done in India in those days, she had been given in marriage to a promising young man when she was only two years old. Unfortunately her husband died when she was just five years old. Upon her husband’s death, she was considered a "child-widow" and would remain a "widow" the rest of her life. She decided to run away from home and seek refuge at a Hindu ashram (a shelter) for unfortunate child-widows like her.

Through God's miraculous plan Lakshmi met a caring, compassionate and dedicated American medical missionary, Dr. Betty Nilsson. A wonderful Christian love bonded them together and Lakshmi found shelter in a Lutheran hospital started by Dr. Betty in that area.

Lakshmi was amazed at the love she experienced from this total stranger, Dr. Betty. She watched Dr. Betty in her unconditional acts of love towards people in need, and was amazed at her dedication and commitment to helping others. Her observation and experience led her to the conclusion that those who accept Jesus would freely love others as Jesus did. With this realization, she accepted Jesus into her heart.

Lakshmi used to dream an almost impossible dream that with the help of The Lord, someday she and her family would build a hospital where poor people would have access to good medical care while receiving Christ's love in the same manner that Dr. Betty shared it with her.

Later in life, Lakshmi suffered with bone cancer and passed away, but her dream still lived on in the hearts of her five grandchildren. With all their trust in the Lord, her family attempted to make this dream become a reality, however many struggles and obstacles arose.

When they were about to abandon the project in desperation, the Lord kept his promise of providence and guidance. God made Lakshmi’s impossible dream come true through the loving commitment of many dedicated, faithful Partners-in-Christ who wanted to share their blessings with the people in India.

The Christian Cancer Center (CCC) opened its doors for medical care in 1987. Today, the Christian Cancer Center in Kakinada, India is a 100-bed clinic, with 12 doctors and 60 other staff. There is a radiation machine for cancer radiation treatment. Though the treatment of cancer is a primary function of the clinic, many other kinds of general and essential medical help is provided. Many babies are born here. Surgeries like appendectomies, tonsillectomies, caesarian sections, and so on are performed frequently. And each week there is a remote medical camp to reach patients in neighboring villages who are unable to travel to the clinic for treatment. Patients who cannot afford to pay for their medical treatment are treated free of charge. Others are charged according to their ability to pay.

Just like Dr Betty's hospital, every patient who comes to this hospital not only receives good medical treatment, but also receives the love of God. The hospital provides weekly medical camps in neighboring villages, which are packed to capacity with testing, medical treatment to minor ailments, immunization and referrals.

As the statistics show, India is one of the countries that is struggling with the HIV epidemic. For this reason, the CCC opened a branch where patients with AIDS can stay to get nursing care. The CCC also conducts medical camps in the surrounding rural areas providing free medicines and education to prevent the spread of HIV.

The Lord used Lakshmi's family and the loving commitment of many faithful Partners-in-Christ to make her dream become a reality in the form of the Christian Cancer Center in Kakinada, India. Today it stands as a testimony of the Love of Jesus – a place of refuge where patients choose to come because they feel that they will not only get good medical treatment but also receive the love of Christ.

The Story Of Hope Village
Lakshmi lived in Dr Betty’s hospital and worked as a “Bible Woman”, visiting the inpatients every day to pray for them and to tell them about the wonderful Love of Jesus that she had experienced. She adopted an orphan little girl and named her Hope Sylvia. Lakshmi raised her adopted daughter with loving care, nurtured her in Christian love and gave her good education. Without Lakshmi’s tender loving care, Hope Sylvia would never have had an opportunity to survive in the world. Through Hope Sylvia’s five children and many Partners-In-Christ, Lakshmi’s dream of helping others in the way that Dr. Betty did for her became a reality through the Christian Cancer Center (CCC).

Sometime after the CCC opened, a 10-year-old boy walked into the lobby leading an old woman in tattered clothes, who was panting, unable to walk and leaning heavily on his shoulder. She was diagnosed with uterine cancer which had progressed beyond help. She had no money either to buy food for the boy and herself or to pay the hospital fee.

The doctors knew her condition was terminal and admitted her at the hospital to ease her pain as her death drew near. The young boy had no place to stay and no food to eat, and slept on the floor near her bed. At that time, Dr. Rhoda (one of Lakshmi’s grandchildren) was managing CCC. Watching their situation, Dr. Rhoda used to stop by the widow’s bedside to console the boy, bringing them food from her own home. Knowing that she would soon die, the poor widow, with tears in her eyes, would beg Dr. Rhoda, "Without me he has no one. Please help my boy, Sam." She died after a few days and Sam was left by himself with no place to live and no one to take care of him.

This incident coupled with the fact that their mother Hope Sylvia, an orphan girl, was lovingly raised and nurtured in the Lord's love by Lakshmi, inspired the idea and desire in the hearts of the 5 grandchildren to try help children like Sam.

Plans were developed to help those children of CCC cancer victims who are left without anyone to care for them and no place to live–left without hope.

After careful planning, and with the Lord’s guidance, Hope Village was established in honor of Hope Sylvia in 1993. Sam was the first child who went to live in Hope Village. Although he was 10 years old when he arrived at Hope Village, Sam had never gone to school. At Hope Village Sam learned that he was surround by the love of Christ. He enthusiastically and quickly learned the alphabet. In no time he was able to read in no time. He completed the tenth grade, which is the equivalent of high school graduation in the United States.

Today, Sam has grown into a well-rounded young man. He is currently taking driving lessons in order to become a certified chauffeur. It is Sam’s goal to achieve his certification, not only to have a decent job as he begins his adult life, but also to give back to CCC by becoming a chauffeur of one of its vehicles to transport the doctors and other staff between its branches. For, it was in the halls of the CCC that he was blessed with the opportunity to grow into the young man he is today–someone with an education, confidence and trust in the love of Christ.

There are 30 children like Sam live at Hope Village. They eat, play, sleep, study, and most importantly learn the love of Jesus. It is their only home, as they do not have any other place to live and any one to care for them.

With God's help, Hope Village tries to nurture these children in God's Love. Hope Village provides them the opportunity to reach their full potential in life and develop confidence, self-esteem and necessary learning skills. Sam is a good example.

This is cancer hospital was started and is still operated by the family of Al Sagar, the dean of the Academy for Transformational Leadership. Al’s daughter, Sapna, contributed this article.
For more information about this medical mission, or to find out how you can help, contact Al Sagar at a_sagar@bellsouth.net.

Posted by atl at 09:20 AM | Comments (1)

May 01, 2005

Martin Luther's Mission Theology

For those struggling to understand how transformation is consistent with traditional Lutheran practice, Dave Daubert, the ELCA Executive for Renewal of Congregations, has drawn from Martin Luther's writing a clear understanding of Luther's call for mission. Find his article in a Word document here:
Download file

Quoting Daubert, "Luther's agenda to reform the church assumed that a high percentage of those officially connected and institutionally churched people in his time were functionally non-Christian. The object of his reforms was to transform the institutional church in order that people might be confronted by the true gospel of Jesus Christ and come to believe in a God of mercy and unconditional forgiveness that few in Luther's time had ever encountered."

Posted by atl at 08:32 AM | Comments (1)