Posted in Christian, Life, Theology

Top Leadership Lessons from 2016

A new year, just like a new day, brings us the opportunity to reflect. Reflect on where we’ve been, where we’re going, things learned, and things we long to learn. So it is in that spirit of reflection that I’ve sought to write some of my top lesson from 2016. The list is by no means exhaustive, but each was important.

  1. Know Your Why. Countless times this year I asked myself why I was doing what I was doing. I paused intentionally to think through the impact of decisions. I asked the Holy Spirit to show me my motives for “yes” or “no” decisions. And honestly, this last year I said “no” to a lot of things. No to a cluttered soul; no to a cluttered house; no to a schedule the did not afford me the time with the most important people in my life; no to striving. I said “yes” to those things that God clearly laid on my heart. Know your why.
  2. Don’t apologize for who God made you to be. For my women friends, I can’t stress this point enough. God made you; the Holy Spirit entrusted you with gifts so that you might be ministers of reconciliation. As Christians, we are ambassadors of Christ. Steward well that which has been entrusted to you. Let Christ shine through you.
    2 Corinthians 5:20 (NASB95) Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
  3. Serve others well and be intentional about it. Get to know the people whom you lead. Get to know their strengths, their weakness (you’ve got bucket loads of them too!), the way they process information, their stressors, and create ample opportunities for them to bring glory to God by using their gifts. Invest in and appreciate (in a language they understand) those with whom you co-labour.  And be authentic, courageously vulnerable, and lead from a place of dependence on Christ and others.
  4. Embrace mistakes and let them move you forward. In my earlier years, I let failures and mistakes shipwreck and paralyze me (confessions of a high achiever), now I let them shape me. Learn to ask for help; you are a limited resource. Always be humble and teachable.
  5. Learn to communicate well in person and don’t avoid conflict. Email, text or FB messaging is never, ever the way to deal with hard conversations. As a leader, develop your communication skills. Learn how to have conversations in a way that won’t leave you feeling horrible for the way you handled things. There is nothing that cannot be discussed if it is approached in an appropriate way. As a leader, it is your responsibility to develop yourself in this area. Learn to communicate well!
  6. Be prepared. I’m still fleshing this lesson out, so you’ll likely be reading (or hearing, depending on how we usually connect) about this topic this year. But here are a few lessons I’ve been learning: be prepared for the meeting, especially if you are the leader; study your Bible so that you are prepared to give an answer; be a praying leader, it prepares you; prepare yourself by leading yourself well.

There it is, some of my top lessons from 2016. Feel free to share some of yours.

Parting Prayer:

Lord, be with us this day,
Within us to purify us;
Above us to draw us up;
Beneath us to sustain us;
Before us to lead us;
Behind us to restrain us;
Around us to protect us.
(Patrick c389-461)



Posted in Bible, Bible Study, Christian, Theology, Uncategorized

Love Lived Out Matters – Lessons From Philemon

Earlier this month I had the privilege of teaching a group of Grade 10 students at Saskatoon Christian School the Inductive Study Method. (More information about that method can be found here.) It was my third year being asked and the last two years we studied Jude, but as I began to pray about this year’s opportunity I clearly felt the Lord leading me to Philemon, the shortest of Paul’s surviving letters. What.a.journey.

From the moment we entered into our learning time together, it was evident that God was working in the hearts and minds of these students. They asked lots of questions. Good questions. Questions such as Do you think Philemon forgave Onesimus? How did Onesimus find his way to Paul?  Was Paul manipulating a response out of Philemon? Who are Apphia and Archippus? (Philemon’s wife and son, in case you’re wondering.) ALL wonderful, thoughtful questions that promoted great class discussions and teachable moments!

As a group we came to understand that there are times we have to stand in the gap for people. We agreed that the ground is level at the foot of the cross and that every single one of us, at some point or another, does something that requires forgiveness from another person. (Life is messy!) We found ourselves in this letter and we were forced to think about how we would behave if someone stole from us. We lingered a while around the truth that Christ changes our lives and how in Christ we become new creations. New creations that are sometimes sent back to places where people are acutely aware of things we’ve done wrong or what we used to believe. (Before running away, Onesimus was an unbeliever in Philemon’s home.)

And while examining and questioning (some questions were left unanswered as the text does not tell us everything we want to know), we came to understand this: Christian love is lived out in ways that will stretch us, may make us uncomfortable, and it often requires us to do something. And not only that, we agreed that being in relationship with Christ and other believers changes us. Why did it matter what Philemon’s choice was? Because he was Christian and a leader in the church.

One of the greatest joys of my life is to see the scriptures, sometimes deemed boring and hard to understand by some, come alive. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Philemon’s a short letter, so my challenge to you this coming week is to read it. Feel free to share your questions and discoveries!

“The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your Spirit.” Philemon 25.