RePost: Servant Leadership

In my teacher’s alternative certification classes, we’ve been discussing what they call the “1st Year Roller Coaster” and it reminded me of some of the things I learned in my “Christian Leadership” studies at CBS. I thought it was worth RePosting. Also called “Situational Leadership,” this model is intended to help managers/leaders guide new employees/volunteers through the “Roller Coaster” by offering different styles of leadership to them throughout the process. It also helps in understanding the “Roller Coaster” and why everyone feels similar things when starting something new. Anyway, below is the description I originally wrote.


This leadership model is grounded in the idea that different people need to be led in different ways. Let me explain the basics.



Commitment and Competence – Development Stages
Development stage 1 (D1) – People are usually highly committed to a new project, but have low competence since they’ve never done it before.

Development stage 2 (D2) – When the honeymoon is over commitment levels typically drop and competence remains pretty much the same. (This is where people most often quit.)

D3 – If they persevere both commitment and competence rise again.

D4 – The longer someone does something the better they get. Both commitment and competence continue to rise.

Situational_3_3

Directive and Supportive Behaviors
All leadership breaks down to these two kinds of behaviors.

Directive = *goal setting, action planning, clarifying roles, *showing and telling, time lines, evaluations, priorities, etc.

Supportive = *listening, praise/encouragement, info sharing about organization or self, *problem solving, asking for input, rationale (explaining the whys), etc.

* = most critical behaviors.

Putting it all Together

Situational_2
A “D1” (high commitment and low competence) needs an “S1” Leadership Style – S1 = Low Support/High Direction (leader decides) This is sometimes referred to as a “Directing” style of leadership. Motto is “Leader decides.”

A “D2” (low commitment and low competence) needs high direction and high support since they are in the “quitting” stage. This is “S2” style is a “Coaching” style. The motto is “Let’s talk, leader decides.”

A “D3” whose commitment and competence have increased needs a “Supportive” style of leadership with high support and low direction. Motto – “Let’s talk, you decide.”

And finally a “D4” (high commitment and competence) needs a “delegating” style. The “S4” is a low direction/low support style which empowers others to “run with it.” Motto is “You decide.”


OK -in my opinion, most of these behaviors come pretty naturally if you truly care about those you are leading. If you’ve developed a relationship with them, then you can sense a lot of this stuff. It’s certainly a good model to understand and having this knowledge will give you a way to evaluate your efforts, but it really all comes down to relationship.

This understanding of leadership could also be beneficial to parenting. Kids need to have a different type of relationship with their parents as they develop. In the first few years (1-5years) a lot of directing is needed. Between the ages of 6-12, they probably need more of a coaching-style of relationship with their parents. The parents still make the decisions, but begin having discussions to help their children understand why they are making those choices. As teenagers (if parents have done well with the other steps), parents could begin to play a more supportive role where they allow kids to make some decisions based upon the talks they have together. It’s important to recognize that this stage has “low” direction not “no” direction. In certain cases, the leader/parent must still make the decisions. By the time they leave home, (like it or not) kids will be responsible (or not) for their own actions. If a parent has been successful in leading his children as God would call him to, he would probably be comfortable delegation or even with sending his child out on his own.

Prayer: Lord, help me to be the leader and parent that You’ve called me to be. Allow me a special ability to discern where people are so that I can lead them in the way that will most benefit them. Help me to be more intentional about training others so they can lead. Grant me favor in the eyes of those I lead so that I can grow deeper relationships with them in order to bring them to new places and to understand what challenges they need or what support they need. Give me a vision which is worthy of commitment – one which honors You at every turn. Glorify your name through my life and my influence upon others. AMEN.

Christian Gymnastics – The Balance Beam

Risk is essential if we are going to call ourselves Christians. In Psalm 127:4-5, God describes our children as “arrows” in our quiver. That means we’ve gotta be willing to send our children (and ourselves since we are God’s children – the arrows in His quiver.) out of the safety/comfort zones and into enemy territory to take ground for the Kingdom of God. Sometimes the greater risk is to risk nothing at all. Only in risk do we discover how great our own need for Jesus is and realize His power and love for us.

Here’s a great video I saw on Donald Miller’s blog from Francis Chan talking about risk.

Comic Books and Church – Between Frames

Seth Godin had a great post about marketing based upon some ideas from a book about comic books by Scott McCloud.

In comic books, the action takes place “between the frames” and the reader ends up telling the story in his imagination as much or more than the author/illustrator. The reader moves the story from one frame to the next inventing the action as he goes.

Godin goes on to explain that marketing works the same way. Marketers worry about the frames (commercials, print media, customer “touches,” etc.) when the action that really matters takes place between the frames. It’s not the TV ad, but what my neighbor tells me about the product that matters. It’s not when the waitress is at your table; what matters is what you overhear the other employees say behind the counter.

Anyway, I think this applies to the church too. I’ve worked for pastors who believe that the greatest thing a staff person can do is to make your Sunday morning worship experiences exceptional – that the majority of focus should be on what happens on Sunday mornings. I’m not saying a good worship service is bad. It’s just that there’s so much more. A focus on Sunday morning worship is like focusing on the frames. The “action,” the part that matters, takes place between the frames. It’s the conversations in the parking lot after church – or the invitations to lunch. It’s the smiles shared by one church member to another when they see each other in the mall. It’s the informal gatherings of friends in each others homes. It’s the prayers that are lifted up during the week for a hurting friend – the donations given to someone in need. Real marketing isn’t organized and produced, it’s a natural expression of who we are.

How can we infuse churches with this sort of “between the frames” kind of thinking? What does it take to influence a church culture to become a “comic book culture” with it’s members creating the action between the frames?

Anyway, all this is to say. I’m striving to a “between frames” kind of guy. I pray that God (by His Spirit) will lead my imagination and help me create the story which will move the action to the place where He wants the next frame to be.

Paul was a Trader

chutesladdersSmallGroupTrader.com‘s mission is: “Helping people trade in the pursuit of the American-Dream for a world that desperately needs Christ.” Remember the old game Chutes and Ladders? To me, this carries some of the same ideas.

Paul didn’t exactly trade in his pursuit of the “American-Dream,” but he traded in a similar pursuit – one that placed himself at the center of the universe. Paul traded the life of ladder climbing and achievement within the Jewish religious system for a life of self-sacrifice. He even longed to suffer in order to have fellowship with Christ where he knew his true identity could be found. He traded a facade of worth for fullness in Christ. Paul was a trader. He traded the ladder for a ride down the chute.

The Ladder:

Acts 8:1-3 describes Paul (Called Saul at that time) as one who made havoc of the church and dragged Christians off to prison. He breathed threats and murder against believers (Acts 9:1-2) and was exceedingly zealous (Gal 1:13-14) in persecuting the church and trying to destroy it. He was a blasphemer, persecutor, an unbelieving insolent man. (1 Tim 1:13)

Why?? Cause Christianity threatened the old Jewish religious system where he had found his whole identity. It struck at the roots of who he was. Paul (Saul) had worked very diligently at climbing the rungs of the religious ladder. He was well educated and well respected within that system and was perfectly happy with the way others perceived him. He was comfortable in that system and Christianity didn’t play by the same rules.

I know. I know. Some of you are saying, “How could you say that Paul’s identity was in the Jewish religious system?” Here’s how: Check out what he wrote himself about those days.

Galatians 1:14 – “I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers.”

Philippians 3:4b-6 – “If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.”

Galatians 1:10 – “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

There it is. Paul said himself that he had been trying to please men. Why? ‘Cause it esteemed him. He was a people-pleaser. These verses make it clear that Paul had been trying to be better or more worthy than others. He was compensating for his own inner feelings by working for positions and bragging rights – climbing the religious ladder.

The Trade:

Acts 9 describes Paul’s conversion experience. It’s a beautiful trade. I will not ruin it by trying to recount the story – you should read it yourself. Here’s the link: Acts 9

Now, check out how Paul’s thinking was changed. Look at what he wrote afterwards:

Philippians 3:3-11 – “For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— though I myself have reasons for such confidence.
If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

It’s clear that his identity is now in Christ alone. He even calls his past accomplishments “rubbish.” His position in the Jewish religious system, his reputation, his esteem. . .rubbish compared to Christ. His new values are to gain Christ, to know the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings. It doesn’t sound like his position is important to him anymore.

In 2 Corinthians 12:5-11, Paul goes so far as to say that the greatest position he could find himself in is actually the lowest rung on the ladder. He says he’ll boast only in his weakness, ’cause it’s in those circumstances where he finds Christ’s power resting on him.

Andrew Seidel writes of Paul after his conversion in this way:  “He is no longer seeking their approval; he is no longer competing with them. As a result, they have lost their power over him and he is free. He has the confidence to do what he believes God is calling him to do, no matter what the opposition to him might bring. The one Person he cares about pleasing is God himself. ”

In the end, it’s clear that Paul was a trader. He traded a life of facades, positions, people-pleasing, and never-ending ladder climbing for a simple life in Christ. And it is there that He found fullness. He was loved and secure simply in being a child of God and his new identity in Jesus Christ could never be stripped away.

Paul traded the ladder for a chute. Paul was a trader.


chartingPS – These ideas are not original. They are from Andrew Seidel’s book, “Charting a Bold Course.” I’d recommend it highly for anyone interested in the study of leadership.

Right Now Conference

right nowMiranda and I went to Dallas last weekend for the Right Now conference. It was a perfect way to get away and refocus ourselves on God. It just seemed like a good time to get away to think and dream and pray and talk about our future a bit. At this time in our lives, with our future so up in the air, we know we’ve probably got some tough times ahead of us. We wanted to use this time so that we could enter this time as healthy as possible so we can be more prepared for whatever the future holds. The conference helped us to get confirmation about a few things and God used many of the speakers to really encourage us on a deep level.

right now2Here are some of the quotes I wrote down from the conference: (They may not be exact quotes – some are, but some are ideas expressed by the speakers which I wrote down as closely as I could.)

“If people follow you, will they get to Christ?” – Tim Ross

“Is there anybody in your church who is your written epistle?” – Tim Ross

“Small group = the purest form of the church. And the church exists for the world. Therefore, our small groups should exist for the world. Why do we build them for the benefit of the church?” – Alan Danielson

“Jesus’ small group met on the streets, in the bars, everywhere they went. It was the exception, not the rule to meet in a home.” – Alan Danielson

“If we aren’t traders, we are traitors to God.” – Alan Danielson on trading in the american dream for God’s.

“Leaders lean in to their strengths.” – Heather Zempel

“We like leadership where we can act as travel agents who sit in their offices and make decisions for others, but we should be more like tour guides who travel with their students.” – Heather Zempel

“I like the term ‘editor’ better than ‘accountability.’ Editors look for the good stuff and improvements as well as mistakes.”  – Heather Zempel

“Carrots that reproduce have to stay in the ground an extra year. Farmers have to leave their best carrots in the ground. Stay planted so you can reproduce.” – Heather Zempel

“Lead with your ears.” – George Barna quoting Ken Blanchard

“I never learned anything talking.” – George Barna quoting Lou Holtz

“Leadership is about bringing the danger with you.” – George Barna quoting Erwin McManus

“Get them out of their comfort zones and believe in them more than they believe in themselves. Anyime you push an individual toward greatness, it’s because you believe he or she is capable of greatness.” – George Barna quoting Lou Holtz

“Scripture doesn’t say anything about a middle road. It’s clear there’s a narrow road and a broad road, but no middle.” – Francis Chan

“Imagine the fellowship you’d have if you were actually able to be crucified and suffer next to Jesus – looking Him in the eye as you suffer together.” – Francis Chan

“It doesn’t matter how many people are in a church or how great the worship is. God asked for a family – a body. That’s what we should strive for.” – Francis Chan

“There are ways to do church that no one has thought of yet.” – Mark Batterson

“Unbelief = putting circumstances between you and God. Faith = putting God between you and circumstances.” – Mark Batterson

“Neurology shows that the older you get, most people shift from right brain thinking to left brain thinking over time. Kids don’t have much experience stored in the left brain, so they live their lives in their imaginations.” – Mark Batterson

“God doesn’t fit in our left brain!” – Mark Batterson

“Don’t let an arrow of criticism pierce your heart unless it first passes through the filter of Scripture.” – Mark Batterson quoting Erwin McManus

“Sometimes criticism from a poor source should be received as a compliment. Sometimes a compliment is a criticism.” – Mark Batterson

“You’ll never be more than 80% certain.” Mark Batterson quoting Andy Stanley

“9 times out of 10 the answer to our prayer will come out of nowhere.” – Mark Batterson

“Compassion (International) is helping rescue us from the poverty of wealth.” – Anne Jackson

“The most Christian thing I’ve ever done is to give.” – Anne Jackson quoting Francis Chan

“A generous heart is never foolish.” – Tim Ross

“We may live like we’re gonna die tomorrow, but we should learn like we’re gonna live forever.” – Mark Batterson

“Like a watchman on a wall, prayer lets us see what other people can’t see.” – Mark Batterson on Col 4:2

“If it doesn’t seem crazy then God might not be in it.” – Mark Batterson

Who Moved My Cheese?

I know who moved my cheese. God did. 2 weeks ago today, my church decided to make all full-time positions “part-time.” The Administrative Board may very well have been the instrument He used, but God moved my cheese. I believe He has greater plans for Miranda and I. I believe He is leading us into an amazing future. Sometimes, it’s been tough. We’ve had our ups and downs over these past 2 weeks, but I believe God will use this whole thing to bless us eventually. We’ve just gotta keep moving so we can make it there. I’ve caught myself saying, we’re just between blessings right now. We’re not sure where we’ll end up, but we know who’s hands we’re in and we will choose to trust Him.

who movedIt seems to come up quite often, but I keep telling Miranda we’ve just gotta be mice right now. I asked her to read the book “Who Moved My Cheese?” so we could be on the same page here, but since many of you haven’t read it, I’ll  explain. This is an awesome book that describes the best way to handle big changes. It’s a modern parable about a maze, some cheese, and 4 characters: Sniff and Scurry are mice and Hem & Haw are little people who all live inside the maze. Each day the four of them go to one section of the maze to find their cheese, but then one day they discover that it’s been moved. Hem and Haw wonder what happened and hang around for a while waiting for it to return. They argue a bit about it and blame all kinds of things. Meanwhile, Sniff and Scurry just keep their noses to the ground and continue through the maze looking for more cheese. Sniff and Scurry are the first to find new cheese.

That’s why we’ve gotta be mice. There’s no point in complaining about our situation or blaming people or the economy or whatever. We could sit around and be upset or we could just go look for more cheese. It’s sort of like the quote from Shawshank Redemption – “Get busy living or get busy dying.” We will choose to live. We will choose to be mice and keep our noses to the ground. Besides, God is in control. He moved our cheese. We may not know where, but we do know that He knew what he was doing. He must want us somewhere else now. We will find out where soon enough – in His timing.

Please pray for us. We are searching through this maze and probably still have a few hurdles and pitfalls ahead of us. I even sang about this on a song I wrote for our Wedding Day – Just Wanna Be With You clip

We’re hanging on to this verse.
Proverbs 3:5-6 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”

Carrots and Sticks and Candles

Carrots and Sticks may motivate a horse to run, but Dan Pink argues that for humans, they just aren’t good motivators. In the video posted below, he shares some amazing research about motivation. I thought I’d share a bit of it here for all you guys who are leaders ’cause we’ve gotta learn everything we can about motivating people – especially church people who work with volunteers.

Incentives/rewards as motivators? Here’s a quote:

As long as the task involved only mechanical skill, bonuses worked as they would be expected: the higher the pay, the better the performance, but once the task called for ‘”even rudimentary cognitive skill,” a larger reward “led to poorer performance.”

Many studies have shown this to be true across cultural boundaries throughout the world. Here’s an example of one of them:

“The Candle Problem.” Here’s the scenario:

The behavioral scientist brings you into a room and gives you a candle, some matches, and some thumb tacks. He explains that your job is to attach the candle to the wall so the wax doesn’t drip onto the table.

candle01

Many people begin by trying to thumbtack the candle to the wall or melting the side of the candle to stick it to the wall. Neither will work. After about 5 minutes, most people figure out the solution.

Candle02

A scientist named Sam Glucksberg (Princeton) did a series of experiments using the candle problem. He told one group of participants that he was just timing them to establish “norms.” To another he offered a carrot, a reward for the top 25 participants with the best times.

Results? The group that was offered the reward averaged 3 and a half minutes longer. Incentives/Rewards actually stifle creativity. This study has also been replicated over and over for nearly 40 years.

Next, Glucksberg did the same experiment, but presented it in a slightly different way.

Candle03

This time the group who had been offered rewards kicked the tails of the others. Why?? It’s “no brainer” work. ‘Cause, with the thumb tacks out of the box, there was no “creativity” (well, little) involved. Incentives work very well for non-cognitive tasks, but for tasks requiring creativity. . .well, it’s a bad motivator and actually hinders performance.

Here’s the bottom line:

There’s a mismatch between what science knows and what business (leadership) does.
Science knows:
1. Incentives/rewards only work in a narrow band of circumstances. (No brainer work)
2. “If then” rewards often destroy creativity.
3. The secret to high performance (motivation) isn’t carrots and sticks (rewards & punishments) but that unseen intrinsic drive – the drive to do things ’cause they matter.

OK – Here are my thoughts: As a church worker, this all makes sense. I can’t really offer our volunteers anything anyway. We may bake them cookies or something to show our appreciation, but we’re not exactly giving huge salaries or bonuses to them. Over the years, I’ve seen a few people volunteer out of wrong motivations – trying to watch their child, or get close to another volunteer, or maybe they just want to feel good about themselves. Whatever the case, those people don’t ever last very long. The people who are the greatest assets to our programs and ministries are those who are intrinsically motivated – those people who really believe in what we’re doing and want to make a difference in the lives of others. Those kinds of volunteers are consistent. They will work into wee hours of the morning trying to get things “just right.” They aren’t “high-maintenance” volunteers. They come to me with new ideas and like to tell me what they’re going to do rather than asking me about all the details of how to get it all done. These are the kinds of people I love to work with. They understand our goals and create new ways of reaching them.

Another thought: What does our carrot and stick system do to our children? We like use this system all the time with them ($$ for grades, ice cream when the team wins, etc) but if these kinds of motivators stifle creativity. . .hmm. . .what hasn’t being created that might exist right now otherwise?

The modern church needs leaders – people who can create a new vision and lead others into a preferred future. Ministry is a creative calling made by the Almighty Creator of heaven and earth. If rewards and incentives break down creativity, we’ve gotta stop trying to motivate our people with them. We need all the creativity we can get. The Good News is that God’s creative Holy Spirit resides with us and within us. He’s just looking for a chance to come out of us.

If you’re interested you can check out the video that inspired these thoughts.

Harvest

I read a blog by Alan Danielson this morning that brings home a concept that’s been rolling around in my head for a while.

stickychurchHere’s a quote: “Often we think that a great harvest is when masses make a decision for Christ, but Osborne (in his book, Sticky Church) challenges that mindset. Farmers don’t celebrate and call it ‘harvest’ when seeds sprout tiny green buds for the first time. It’s not ‘harvest’ until the plants have grown to maturity and produce fruit.”

Yes!! That’s exactly how I’ve been feeling. The church has grown to be obsessed with hype and big events that engage people in first-time decisions. No, I’m not knocking first-time decisions. I’m just saying that all too often that’s also the end of our efforts. The farmer image captures it very well – the larger celebration should be at the end of the harvest and our efforts should be consistent throughout the growth process!

PS – If this one concept is this powerful, I need to read this book.

Man, Movement, Machine, & Monuments

Leigh Anne, Trey, Steve, & Miranda
Leigh Anne, Trey, Steve, & Miranda

Miranda and I got to hang out with some friends who are missionaries a few weeks ago. Trey and Leigh Anne are some of the coolest people I know. Anyway, during our time together, Trey and I had a great conversation and he said something I wanted to share with you. I’ve caught myself sharing it in a few conversations since then already. (That means it’s something I really latched on to.) I can’t remember where he got the info, but I know it’s not original to him either. Anyway, here it is:

The changes that take place in most organizations over time can be defined by these stages:

1. A Man on a Mission – is how things get started.

2. A Movement – is formed as this man and his mission attract/involve other people who are passionate about the same things.

3. A Machine – is built as the movement grows. The loose organization of people decides to be strategic in planning and sets standards for how they will operate.

4. A Monument – is ultimately formed as people begin to expect certain behaviors/services from the machine. Unfortunately, machines break. Many times (if leadership is not careful and intentional) the maintenance of the machine begins to take precedence over the original mission. Financial resources which originally were intended for the mission are spent to support the machine. (85% of the average church budget is spent inwardly.)

In Trey’s description, he also said that the man who shared these ideas with him made it his goal to never become a machine. A movement of many men on mission can become a revolution, but a machine. . . .

These are ideas worth passing along.What do you guys think?

Little Shovel

ShovelOn his blog, Seth Godin writes “If you want to dig a big hole, you need to stay in one place.”

I wonder how this applies to evangelism? He explains that if you take your little shovel all over town, you’ll end up with a bunch of little holes – little impact. As a marketing guru, he applies this to sales: If you make 1000 sales calls, you’re likely to get 1000 rejections. On the other hand, if you work on one person and call him ten times, you might make a sale.

Back to evangelism: I think Jesus understood the “Law of the Little Shovel” pretty well. Think about it. He spent lots of time with the same 12 people (the disciples). He used his shovel digging into the lives of the same folks every day for three years of ministry. Those guys ended up changing the world and bringing Jesus’ message to the world as we know it – big impact.

I think it’s important to realize that when we truly invest our lives in people, (the same people year after year) we will dig much deeper in transforming both them and ultimately, the world around us. We should think in terms of changing a few people greatly rather than changing a great number of people in small ways.