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 Theology, womeninleadership

The Promise: “To ALWAYS Encourage You to Develop the Gifts God Has Placed Within You.”

Entry #1

It’s been almost twenty-five years since my husband, Albert, said those words to me on our wedding day, and I to him. But what we didn’t know that day was that his wife would be called to be a leader in the Body of Christ. Even more specifically, that his wife would one day grow up (okay, I’m not that old, but to be real, I was 21 when we got married!) and pursue becoming a licensed minister. And in recent weeks my eyes have been opened again to this ongoing tension in the Body of Christ – even in denominations that say “yes” to women in ministry – about just how confused many of us still are regarding women’s roles and whether or not God can really “call” a woman to be a pastor, leader, and what her spheres of influence should be.

So, this morning as I was chatting over breakfast with a couple of my leader friends, one of them suggested, after I shared with her part of my wedding vow, that that’s a good starting point for a blog series. And to be honest, I’ve never (I mean never!) written a paper or published any stance on women and leadership because I never wanted to be that woman. And by that woman, I mean the one who came from a place of “needing” to prove something or “needing” to make my voice heard because, especially in more recent years, I didn’t want to lose my ability to influence in a good way. To be fair, I’ve probably made some remarks along the way that haven’t gone over so well (forgive me if you’ve been on the receiving end of one, it probably came from a place of hurt), so over time I just tried to advocate for intentionality in choosing called people – both men and women. And, in more recent years, I’ve found myself seeking shared leadership opportunities because my starting point is that men and women were created to be God’s image-bearers and share God-given responsibilities.

Where did I get my beginning position that men and women were created as image-bearers and were to share God-given responsibilities? The Bible tells us the following:

“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”” (Genesis 1:26–28, NKJV)

Now before we jump to things like, “But Paul said_________,” can we just pause for a while and ask ourselves, what does it mean to be an image-bearer? What does it mean to be entrusted with God-given responsibilities? To have dominion over?And what did that responsibility originally look like? For the sake of journeying together, can I challenge you to go back and reread Genesis 1 and 2? And in the coming weeks as I journey this too (because I figure it’s about time I clearly lay out my position), I will be writing about my findings as I work my way through understanding God’s heart for me and the many other women out there who’ve wondered who they were and the purposes for which they were created.

And here’s my commitment to all of you: I promise to ALWAYS encourage you to develop the gift(s) that God has placed within you.