Pride and Leading as a Servant

Google defines pride as:

“a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.“

Most of us are proud, or want to be proud of who we are. In practice this usually takes on one of two flavors; either we desire God to be proud of what we’ve done with what He’s given us or we long for that deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from our achievements. The difference between these two is the object of our satisfaction: will I be satisfied by God or will I be satisfied by my achievements? Realizing this dichotomy is the beginning of transformation. Once we decide we will draw our satisfaction from God, it is easier to see that we must serve as leaders, for this is the example that Jesus left us. We all need recognition, the question is whether we need that recognition from God or from the world around us. The answer to this question will depend on where we draw our satisfaction from. If we desire our recognition from God we will flourish as servant leaders, but if we desire our recognition from the world around us we will be stifled as servant leaders because the world often does not appreciate quiet acts of sacrifice that are predominant in servant leadership. In the same manner, if our desire is for kingdom advancement, we should have a deeper calling to lead through serving. If our desire is centered around career advancement it will be harder to practice servant leadership. The fact is, in most leadership and management careers today perceived strength is a requirement. I say perceived strength because we as Christ followers often define strength differently from the world. As Christ followers we subscribe to the meek inheriting the earth, turning the other cheek and not lording over those we lead. As worldly leaders we are taught that true strength is making decision, directing others and having our initiatives accomplished.

Our approach to this tension is the true sign of where our hearts are. The myopic view derived from focusing on our careers causes us to be overly critical of others and think too much of ourselves. Assuming we always have the best way to do something and others don’t shows a lack of humility, ignorance for the broader picture and disregard for the worth of others. This is not the way a Christ follower should lead, this is not servant leadership. As servant leaders we need to have our minds set on eternity. When we set our minds on eternity, the things of God take on significant meaning and the things of this world pale in comparison. Our careers are finite, our frustrations are finite and the work we have to do on this earth is finite. Who we become in spirit is infinite, God’s satisfaction with us is infinite and our self-worth as members in Christ is infinite. If we believe these things, then our actions should reflect those beliefs; divine appointments with others we will be with for eternity take on significant priority, and living a life in God’s design takes on a new importance. In practice this should start with humility. Humility is the antidote to the pride problem. If we are humble, we assume God knows more than we do and we follow his commandments. If we are humble, we assume God loves and values those around us and we should do the same. When we are humble, we know that we are truly only stewards of all that we have and do and what we accomplish should be what God wants us to accomplish more that what we want to accomplish. When we assume this attitude we will realize that if we are slave to busyness, we have more business than God intended for us. Could it be that our stress at work is from us pursuing our own thing instead of Gods will? The most practical step we can take as servant leaders who follow Christ is to actually obey God. One of the ten commandments (notice these are not the 10 recommendations) is to observe a sabbath. I have noticed this is by far the most disregarded of the 10 commandments, especially by those who are leading. How is it that we loathe the idea of breaking the adultery or murder commandment, yet often encourage the breaking of the sabbath commandment? We encourage those we influence to break the sabbath commandment every time we break it, our actions speak much louder than our words. I would submit that one practical and effective way to immediately become a better servant leader is to begin observing a sabbath every week. When Jesus talked about the Sabbath, he never said we should not observe it, he was telling us we missed the point of the sabbath. “The sabbath was created for man, not man for the sabbath” Mark 2:27. The problem was and is not the sabbath, the problem is us. We try to turn the sabbath into a discipline, a habit instead of a heart reaction of gratitude and love for God. We are intended to keep one day holy, to have one day we devote to healthy relationship with God and others. Following this design for our life should become a foundation for those of us who aspire to be servant leaders.

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Pride and Leading as a Servant

Google defines pride as:

. The difference between these two is the object of our satisfaction: will I be satisfied by God or will I be satisfied by my achievements? Realizing this dichotomy is the beginning of transformation. Once we decide we will draw our satisfaction from God, it is easier to see that we must serve as leaders, for this is the example that Jesus left us. We all need recognition, the question is whether we need that recognition from God or from the world around us. The answer to this question will depend on where we draw our satisfaction from. If we desire our recognition from God we will flourish as servant leaders, but if we desire our recognition from the world around us we will be stifled as servant leaders because the world often does not appreciate quiet acts of sacrifice that are predominant in servant leadership. In the same manner, if our desire is for kingdom advancement, we should have a deeper calling to lead through serving. If our desire is centered around career advancement it will be harder to practice servant leadership. The fact is, in most leadership and management careers today perceived strength is a requirement. I say perceived strength because we as Christ followers often define strenght differently from the world. As Christ followers we subscribe to the meek inheriting the earth, turning the other cheek and not lording over those we lead. As worldly leaders we are taught that true strength is making decision, directing others and having our inititatives accomplished.

than God intended for us. Could it be that our stress at work is from us pursuing our own thing instead of Gods will? The most practical step we can take as servant leaders who follow Christ is to actually obey God. One of the ten commandments (notice these are not the 10 recommendations) is to observe a sabbath. I have noticed this is by far the most disregarded of the 10 commandments, especially by those who are leading. How is it that we loathe the idea of breaking the adultery or murder commandment, yet often encourage the breaking of the sabbath commandment? We encourage those we influence to break the sabbath commandment every time we break it, our actions speak much louder than our words. I would submit that one practical and effective way to immediately become a better servant leader is to begin observing a sabbath every week. When Jesus talked about the Sabbath, he never said we should not observe it, he was telling us we missed the point of the sabbath. “The sabbath was created for man, not man for the sabbath” Mark 2:27. The problem was and is not the sabbath, the problem is us. We try to turn the sabbath into a discipline, a habit instead of a heart reaction of gratitude and love for God. We are intended to keep one day holy, to have one day we devote to healthy relationship with God and others. Following this design for our life should become a foundation for those of us who aspire to be servant leaders.

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Posting from Evernote

I use Evernote pretty extensively on all of my devices. I found a great WordPress plugin to sync my Evernote folder with my blog; Sentinote.

It also uses markdown which I haven’t tried yet, but will be testing out here!

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Looking for a computer programmer

Grace is at a place in our growth where IT is needed as a primary support for progress. There are many work processes which need to be automated. Our Computer Programmer will be responsible for all system automation and software development.

The right candidate will:

  • Be a Christ follower (at least 3 years) and member of Grace Fellowship (within 6 months)
  • Have experience with SW development or systems programming
  • Be fluent in at least one computer language
  • Be personable and patient
  • Be able and willing to teach computer SW concepts
  • Be excited about working with volunteers
  • Have experience in computer programming and database integration
  • Be familiar with Google Apps environment and WordPress

If you believe this is your calling, please contact me (Frank Deno) at my Grace email address or just click the “email me” button at https://about.me/frank.deno

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North Point Ministries

On Monday afternoon we had a conversation with Bill Willits, Bob Strickland and Joel Thomas of North Point Church about their multi site structure.

North Point has an interesting matrix structure. Bill leads North Point Ministries and Bob leads Campus Ministries. Bill provides ministry coaches for all the core ministries at each campus and Bob leads the campus (church) Pastors. Rick is the administrator, who oversees all support for things like finances, HR, IT, facilities, etc. Together these three guys support all North Point churches.

Joel is the Campus Pastor at the North Point Campus. Joel added great perspective to the discussion.

I had several take-aways from our conversation:

  1. North Point has fostered a very collaborative environment where innovation flourishes across churches and teams. A church can provide consistency across campuses either with clear structure or strong collaboration.
  2. Centralization is common in larger multi site churches. This ensures alignment, consistency and “frees up” the campus pastors to focus on their campus. North Point accomplishes this centralization with campus teams, so the campus staff are part of the design and decision process. This ensures the best innovations to reach all the campuses without extensive dedicated non-campus staff.
  3. Bob and Bill seem to spend a lot of time together, they attend each others staff meetings and talk over most major decisions. A senior leadership team must remain in regular communication with one another to ensure alignment across all campuses.
  4. North Point reinforced that autonomy is not the best structure for a multi site church. Flexible but collaborative and aligned is a much better description of North Point campuses. This is good for efficiency and quality without being limiting to healthy leaders.

The NPM site has their leadership structure and matrixed org chart.

North Point may actually have more ministry consistency between campuses than Life Church. Their core ministries (which are part of North Point Ministries) include their children’s ministry, youth ministry, group ministry, weekend services, missions, married life and singles ministries. The main difference is that North Point accomplishes this centralization with teams of people from both the campuses and the central teams while Life Church has a more predominant central team structure. Both are amazing churches making an incredible difference and being very successful with a multi site model that differs but works well in their culture.

Once we (Grace) decide on the model we want to use, we will still need to mold it around our culture.

 

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Life Church

We had a great conversation with Kevin Penry last Thursday. Kevin is the central operations leader at LifeChurch.tv and has an amazing amount of knowledge and experience in building a multi site church. LifeChurch.tv, in addition to being the creator of YouVersion, preaches the gospel to about 50,000 people a week in 5 states at 16 campuses.

Kevin left me with several take aways:

  1. A church with autonomous campuses isn’t really using a multi site model, they are more an affiliation of churches. This is not a bad thing if it’s your goal, but if your goal is to gain the benefit of multi site there needs to be some centralization.
  2. Language is important to the multi site model. Inherent to being a multi site is the struggle of central control, yet it is no ones desire to be controlling. Using language like “support” instead of “control” changes not only the perception but also how we live out the model. Also inherent is a “business likeness” of a large organization, we can seem very “corporate” which feels exclusive, so instead lets be “global” which feels much more inclusive and will remind us all always to be inclusive.
  3. Are campus pastors great leaders who pastor well or great pastors who lead well? Leading and pastoring are not synonymous, they’re separate spiritual gifts. Leaders tend to be more organization and system focused while pastors tend to be more people and caring focused. A central support model should free campus pastors up to focus on pastoring their congregations and teaching people how to pastor others (leading by example).
  4. The central support model seems incredibly scalable. The things that need to be done over and over again the same way are done by a central team, making these processes very efficient and cost-effective. New campuses can be launched more quickly and consistently and in a multi site model this allows the Church to grow and share the good news with more people.

We will be talking with North Point church on Monday, who I believe also uses a central support model and hopefully we will be talking to Willow Creek on Thursday who uses a main campus model. Through all of these discussions I am really looking forward to identifying the right model for us to begin developing for our culture.

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Multi site models

In the reading I’ve been doing, I see three major trends as it applies to the originating campus with multi site models:

  • The church was established as a multi site church and there is not one main campus (multiple pastors, rotation / live preaching at each site). There is still central support for some functions, but it doesn’t have to exist at one campus.
  • The church was established as a single location, and grew into multi site. The church uses the main site model and language. Their central support and main influence comes from the founding site. The campus pastors usually report to the senior pastor or a local pastor is established for a geographic location.
  • The church was established as a single location, and grew into multi site. The church uses “central support” language. It seems clear that there is a founding site which is usually larger (and from cases I know still carries influence just because of longevity), but it is not considered the “main site”. There is centralized authority and responsibility, but this comes from “central support”, not the “main campus”. Campus pastors report to a separate division (like “North Point Ministries” or the Central Operations Leader at LifeChurch)
  • All seem to be successful models of churches doing it well:
    Check out these three short videos (Life Church, Christ Church, Calvary Chapel): core multi site on leadership network
    I found a nice matrix that identifies this similar trend: Multi Site Staff Structure Matrix

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    Looking for an IT Director

    20130430-065355.jpgOur IT manager, Curtis is moving to North Carolina. Curtis has been with us for a couple years and has brought our IT support to a new level.
    With Curtis leaving, we will be hiring a new IT Director.
    The right candidate will:

    • Be a Christ follower (at least 3 years) and member of Grace Fellowship (within 6 months)
    • Have leadership experience in IT with responsibility for staff and budget
    • Be personable and patient
    • Be able and willing to teach technology concepts
    • Be excited about working with volunteers
    • Have experience in programming and/or system administration

    Grace is at a place in its growth where IT is needed as a primary support for progress. There are many work process which could be automated and many systems across multiple sites that require maintaining as well as about 50 staff that require desktop support. The IT Director will be part of the Latham team leads team and part of the decision making process.
    IT needs:

    • Desktop support
    • Server and network administration
    • VOIP and cell phone support
    • F1 Database oversight
    • IT vendor management
    • Software solutions (third party and internally developed)
    • Website development and maintenance
    • Software license management
    • Internet campus oversight

    If you believe this is your calling, please contact me (Frank Deno) at my Grace email address or just click the “email me” button at https://about.me/frank.deno

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    Selfishness

    In this passage we are face to face with the fact that the essence of sin is to put self in the place of God.

    This quote is from William Barclay in response to Romans 1:18-23.

    Simply restated, the essence of sin is selfishness:

    • in the garden, Eve wanted what she wanted more than what God wanted
    • Adam wanted Eve more than he wanted God

    And from then on, our constant downfall has been to want what we want more than what God wants – this is what we call sin.

    What would it look like to want what God wants more than what we want? Jesus addresses this question continually, telling us to love God and love others. Not just follow the rules, but truly change what we want. Love motivates us to put others first.

    When the rich young ruler asked Christ how to be perfect, Christ told him what he could do. The ruler responded that he had done all of that, so Jesus told him to give away all he had and follow Him. In other words, if you think you’ve kept all the rules and that makes you perfect, try changing your wants. Give up what you want, totally and completely.

    This is hard, really hard. Harder than passing through the eye of a needle. The only way for this to happen is to allow God to change our hearts and to put His will first.

    16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”

    17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”

    18 “Which ones?” he inquired.

    Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’[a] and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]

    20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”

    21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

    22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

    23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

    Matthew 19:16-24

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    Ithaca

    IthicaAs you set out for Ithaka
    hope your road is a long one,
    full of adventure, full of discovery.
    Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
    angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
    you’ll never find things like that on your way
    as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
    as long as a rare excitement
    stirs your spirit and your body.
    Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
    wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
    unless you bring them along inside your soul,
    unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

    Hope your road is a long one.
    May there be many summer mornings when,
    with what pleasure, what joy,
    you enter harbors you’re seeing for the first time;
    may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
    to buy fine things,
    mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
    sensual perfume of every kind—
    as many sensual perfumes as you can;
    and may you visit many Egyptian cities
    to learn and go on learning from their scholars.

    Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
    Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
    But don’t hurry the journey at all.
    Better if it lasts for years,
    so you’re old by the time you reach the island,
    wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,
    not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

    Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
    Without her you wouldn’t have set out.
    She has nothing left to give you now.

    And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
    Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
    you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

    BY C. P. CAVAFY

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