On Listening for Transformation

Here is a reminder from Henri Nouwen to those of contemplating how to make more of the word of God in our lives. According to Nouwen, true transformation occurs only when we learn to listen well.

Perhaps you think about the word of God as a divine exhortation to go out and change your life. But the full power of the word lies not in how you apply it to your life after you’ve heard it, but in how it’s transforming power does its divine work in you as you listen. —Nouwen, Spiritual Direction.

What sort of transformation needs to take place in your life? Are you inviting the divine to work in your life?

What do you need to do differently in order to listen to word?

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How Are You Thanking Your Volunteers This Christmas?

Christmas is a great time to thank the volunteers in your church for their many contributions. There are many ways of doing that of course but the point is you really need to do something.

As a leader its your job to ensure all the volunteers are feeling encouraged and empowered. . 
Thanking volunteers doesn’t need to be expensive but it will take time and effort. And I would encourage you to be as generous as possible. Don’t skimp when it comes to thanking people. Diversity Christmas pine Tree hands

Here are some ways churches are thanking their volunteers this year…

  • Thank them/acknowledge them in public at an event or gathering
  • Dinner at a great restaurant.
  • Hand-written cards.
  • Host a Christmas party.
  • Gourmet food deliveries to their home
  • Sending them fresh baked cookies
  • Gift cards — say to Starbucks or sandwich shop
  • Hand-crafted ornaments.
  • Gift bags
  • Books

I’ve heard some pastors and leaders investing days writing out cards and sending gifts. I think it’s great. While that may seem like a lot of time to invest (it is), your volunteers are worth it.

Of course, larger churches are going to have more volunteers. And you might not be able to personally thank ALL of your volunteers. So if you aren’t personally thanking your volunteers, ensure you are encouraging and empowering the appropriate leaders to thank the volunteers on their teams. 

Showing your appreciation and being grateful for your volunteers isn’t just polite, it’s critical to building a reproducing culture where people feel valued and empowered for the Jesus the mission.

I’ve written about thanking your volunteers here and here.

What about you? How are you saying thank you to your volunteers for their contributions?

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Self-Awareness In a Leader

Therefore do not deceive yourself! Of all deceivers fear most yourself! —Soren Kierkegaard

Good leadership emerges from self-aware leaders. Leaders who are self-aware are clear about how they spend their time, what they devote their attention to, and what actions they take. selfaware

In other words, self-aware leaders are leader who have made it a point to learn to lead themselves well.

Some ways to become a more self-aware leader include:

  • Understand why do you do what you do. That is, you ought to understand your intentions and motivations.
  • Notice how you handle challenges.
  • What factors determine how you spend your time?
  • How do you find balance and rhythm in your life?
  • Do you invite others to help you grow as a leader?

Someone once said that all we get to control in this life is 100% of ourselves.

Best to learn how to do that well.

What about you? What are some ways you’ve become more self-aware as a leader?

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The Point of Scripture

Here is an important reminder from A.W. Tozer that reading scripture is not the point. Scripture is the means to growing in our faith in the living God.

“The Bible is not an end to itself, but a means to bring men (and woman) to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God himself, and that He is the core and center of their hearts.” —Tozer, from The Pursuit of God.

The end of scripture is an intimate and sweet relationship with the living God. Best to keep this in mind when we are feeling pressed by other demands on our time.

How are you using scripture to grow in your faith? 

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Peter Drucker’s 5 Questions for Self-Assessment

Peter Drucker was a management consultant, educator and author. His work centered on how we organize in business, government and the non-profit sectors.

His work has much application to church planting.

Drucker insisted that all organizations need to self-assess from time to time. Otherwise they will veer from your core focus. It’s no different for a church.

Here are Drucker’s 5 Questions for self-assessment. It would be VERY useful for you and your team to spending time going through them together.

  1. What is our mission?
  2. Who is our customer?
  3. What does the customer value?
  4. What are our results?
  5. What is our plan?

What other ways do you self-assess as a church plant? 

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