November 26, 2014

The Four Deadly Sins of Emerging Church Leaders

4 Deadly Sins of Emerging Church Leaders by Steve Saccone

The following four sins is an excerpt from a TeamUp tool that helps your team engage key concepts for emerging church leaders around Steve Saccone’s book, Protege. You can download the TeamUp tool here.

Character is doing the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do, no matter the cost. That is the essence of true heroism, and the defining mark of a Christ-centered leader. Unfortunately, character is not required to be an effective leader. On the other hand, character is what makes a leader worth following—and it’s what gives people a compelling life to follow.

#1 – The Sin of Imitation: Envy

Envy is not only a deadly sin, but probably one of the most uncomfortable sins, especially for emerging leaders as they strive to distinguish themselves from everyone else. And sometimes it’s immensely difficult to distinguish the difference from personal development and imitation development. The pathway toward overcoming the sin of imitation involves the pursuit of living an original life, a pursuit all can attain, one we were in fact created to attain.

#2 –  The Sin of Performance: Self-Reliance

Every leader faces the challenge to produce or perform. Although this ambitious pursuit and intentional focus isn’t inherently wrong, I’m convinced that what ought to motivate us and what actually does motivate us gets all too blurry. The mindset of productivity is so pervasive in our culture that it can result in a subtle but critical shift in our approach to how we view and do ministry leadership and understand what great performance is really about.

#3 – The Sin of Overconfidence: Foolishness

Where do we draw the line between healthy confidence and unhealthy overconfidence? Where does the balance lie between knowing you have specific gifts to offer, and thinking you are better than you are? And how does knowing the difference actually make a difference? My experience shows me that ministry leaders don’t always seek the right kind of wisdom, thus maintaining characteristics of what the Scriptures call, “a fool,” which is where the sin of overconfidence leads us.

#4 – The Sin of Entitlement: Greed

Greed is a deadly sin because it takes more than it gives. It consumes rather than creates. It is never satisfied. What makes it worse is that greed is difficult to recognize and then acknowledge within yourself. As a result of going unchecked, greed begins to fuel and pollute our ambitions, the very ones that look good on the outside but wreck havoc in our leadership, marriage, ministry, and personal lives.

November 24, 2014

3 Ways to Develop Your Church Leaders Without Having More Events

Leadership has become the hottest topic among growing church leaders these days. And I think for good reason. There is a healthy and ever-increasing awakening to the reality that programs don’t grow people, people do. And the more you are in the business of really making disciples, the more leadership development moves from periphery to central; it becomes a real need AND a felt need issue!

But the first problem in execution is again the over-reliance on events and programming. Churches quickly start leadership development classes or events only to overwhelm further, the busiest people they serve. Many first takes at leadership development become a recipe for insanity!

What then are some alternative solutions? What are ways to develop leaders IN church without creating more events AT church?

SOLUTION #1: Use a special story-telling technique to help leaders teach other leaders in realtime

I learned this teaching-via-story tool from Noel Tichy which he introduces in his book, Leadership Engine as a  “Teachable Point of View.” It takes some effort to get going but can become a powerful part of a leadership development culture. One of the most significant steps I have ever taken as a leader is to write down ten, 2-minute testimonies of my life’s most significant leadership lessons. Try it and learn more in the download below.

SOLUTION #2: Implement self-led venues for people to learn at any time, any place and any pace

With access to digital content today, its easier than ever to provide learning and development opportunities virtually. One caution: Don’t let leadership development drift into a information-transfer opportunity only. Watching a video doesn’t make you a better leader. But watching a video can be a significant step in a relational development pathway. Aubrey Malphurs and I wrote a chapter in Building Leaders about 16 different venues including this self-led type. Also, check out the Ministry Grid for a great online tool for church leaders.

SOLUTION #3: Embed apprenticeship as a norm in ministry environments

While many people have written on apprenticeship, few have practiced it as well as Dave and Jon Ferguson. Check out their thoughts in the download below. One huge and obvious benefit  of apprenticing is that you don’t have to recreate a training environment because every ministry environment is a training environment. Apprenticing can be challenging but it is doable. It is the primary method Auxano uses for training Navigators.

Download the SUMS reMix 12-page PDF, on Leadership Development 

In our first issue of our SUMS reMix we tackled this post’s problem. SUMS  reMix is a brand new tool that brings you three simple solutions to practical challenges for church leaders. Each solution comes via book summary of a book relevant to church leadership. Sign-up here.

November 22, 2014

Exclusive Offer for the Most Innovative Book Summary Tool for Church Leaders

SUMS Free Church Leaders Book Summaries

As a leader you like to read. But with the pace of life, its hard to cover all of the bases when great new content is always coming at the speed of light. Now you can get the best book summary tool every created. And its just for church leaders!

That’s why, for the last two years Auxano has been bringing you SUMS: Book Summaries for Church Leaders. We have been distilling the best content just for church leaders like you, and giving you immediate and practical action steps.

Now we are taking the SUMS tool to a whole new level. Every other week you can receive, not ONE, but THREE book “summaries” all focused around solving a practical church leadership problem. It’s called SUMS Remix. For example, our first SUMS Remix, released earlier this month focused on the problem, “We want leadership development to be happening all of the time, not just at special events.” To solve this problem we looked at Noel Tichey’s Leadership Engine, Aubrey Malphur’s book (co-authored with me), Building Leaders, and Dave & Jon Ferguson’s book, Exponential.

In a nutshell why is SUMS Remix better?

  • You need content that solves the challenges you face every day
  • You want to scan more information in less time to find the best content
  • You will to achieve more with more credibility as well-read leader

Check it out for yourself and see if you would agree that this is an incredibly innovative content tool for the church: SUMS Remix Issue #1

DON’T MISS TWO OPPORTUNITIES!

As we roll out this incredible new tool, I want to give you two things: First I want to invite you to become a founding subscriber this December to the SUMS Remix. Second, I want to give you a FREE copy our best SUMS tools to date— all 52 Summaries one click away in a SUMS Bookshelf Edition PDF.

GROUND FLOOR OPPORTUNITY – BECOME A FOUNDING SUBSCRIBER

In just a few weeks we will be creating a paid subscriber list to the new SUMS Remix. As we do, I want my blog readers to have the first opportunity to be founding subscribers. What exactly is a founding subscriber? It’s a special pricing status with benefits that include:

  • 50% off the regular SUMS price, locked-in for life.
  • The opportunity to gift to 3 other people a free year subscription this Christmas
  • 2 years of our regular SUMS—that’s 52 book summaries—in one FREE Bookshelf Edition PDF

GET THE FREE SUMS BOOKSHELF EDITION TODAY!

If you want the SUMS Bookshelf Edition PDF today, I have it ready to e-mail to you. But first let me tell you why I like it so much. I use the bookshelf PDF as a “bookshelf within a bookshelf” in iBooks. Every cover on the bookshelf links to the summary for that book. As I scan the bookshelf PDF, I can immediately open a summary and pop it right into my iBooks. This is the fastest way to keep reading book summaries on planet earth. And now you have 52 at your fingertips, absolutely free.

If you prefer not to use a smartphone, no problem as you can open as many PDFs on your laptop or desktop as you want or print and read. I just showed this tool to my Father on his Macbook Air and he loved it.

ONE LINK, TWO OFFERS

By clicking on the link below and providing your e-mail, you can get the free SUMS Bookshelf Edition PDF sent immediately to your e-mail. By receiving this gift, you will automatically get a personal e-mail from me to be a FOUNDING SUBSCRIBER to SUMS Remix, within the next 2 weeks. I think you will love the opportunity!

Enjoy these 52 book summaries. I hope you have some great extra reading time over the holiday season.

***** LINK to the SUMS Bookshelf Edition PDF*****

Oh by the way, here is a list of 52 Book Summaries in the SUMS Bookshelf Edition PDF:

  1. How to Read a Book, Mortimer Adler
  2. The Advantage, Patrick Lencioni
  3. The Present Future, Reggie McNeal
  4. Resonate, Nancy Duarte
  5. Leaders Make the Future: 10 New Leadership Skills, Bob Johansen
  6. Great by Choice, Jim Collins
  7. What Matters Now, Gary Hamel
  8. Insanely Simple, Ken Segall
  9. Center Church, Tim Keller
  10. Creature of the Word
  11. Deep and Wide, Andy Stanley
  12. Midnight Lunch, Sarah Miller Caldicott
  13. Tribes, Seth Godin
  14. Back of the Napkin, Dan Roam
  15. Simple Church, Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger
  16. On the Verge, Alan Hirsch, Dave Ferguson
  17. Be Our Guest, Disney Institute
  18. The Ten Faces of Innovation, Tom Kelley
  19. The Leadership Pipeline (Revised), Ram Charan, Steve Drotter, Jim Noel
  20. Visual Leaders, David Sibbet
  21. Church Unique, Will Mancini
  22. Better Together, Warren Bird and Jim Tomberlin
  23. Less Clutter, Less Noise, Kem Meyer
  24. Conversational Intelligence, Judith Glaser
  25. The Leadership Challenge, 5th edition, James Kouzes & Barry Posner
  26. The Performance Factor, Pat MacMillan
  27. The Five Most Important Questions, Peter Drucker
  28. Leading Kingdom Movements, Mike Breen
  29. The Accidental Creative, Todd Henry
  30. Protégé, Steve Saccone
  31. The Art of the Start, Guy Kawasaki
  32. Just Lead, Jenni Catron & Sherri Surratt
  33. Judgment on the Front Line, Chris DeRose and Noel Tichy
  34. Prodigal Christianity, David Fitch and Geoff Holsclaw
  35. Decisive, Chip Heath and Dan Heath
  36. Church Transfusion, Neil Cole and Phil Helfer
  37. Relational Intelligence, Steve Saccone
  38. Spiritual Leadership, Henry and Rickard Blackaby
  39. Transformational Groups, Ed Stetzer and Eric Geiger
  40. The Truth About Leadership, James Kouzes and Barry Posner
  41. The Myths of Creativity, David Burkus
  42. What Great Brands Do, Denise Yohn
  43. Simply Managing, Henry Mintzberg
  44. Innovating Discipleship, Will Mancini
  45. Execution is the Strategy, Laura Stack
  46. Your Volunteers, Chris Mavity
  47. The Idea-Driven Organization, Alan Robinson and Dean Schroeder
  48. Be the Best Bad Presenter Ever, Karen Hough
  49. Smart Leaders, Smarter Teams, Roger Schwarz
  50. EGO vs. EQ, Jen Shirkani
  51. Brief, Joe McCormack
  52. The Complete Executive, Karen Wright
November 15, 2014

Stop Being an Overworked Pastor by Becoming an Essential One

I run into overworked pastors every week. In this second post of a series reflecting on the book, Essentialism, by Greg McKeown for the benefit of church leaders , I want to explore the reality that you are bombarded with the “trivial many” every day in ministry. In fact, you are probably an overworked pastor:

Now let me ask you this: Have you ever found yourself stretched too thin? Have you ever felt both overworked and underutilized? Have you ever found yourself majoring in minor activities? Do you ever feel busy but not productive? Like you’re always in motion, but never getting anywhere?

Of course you have. We all have, especially working in the church. What are you going to do about it? Allow me to recommend, in the words of Greg McKeown, that it starts by discerning the trivial many from the vital few! The key to being an “essential pastor” is knowing precisely what you are called to do. As you focus on the essential things God wants you to focus on you will accomplish more with less energy. And most likely, you will have more joy doing it. But you must find the “vital few.” More ministry and more joy without the burden of more work on your back. Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it?  I can assure you that its not. So, how do you get there? Three actions are the first steps of freeing yourself from the burden of “too much” and flood of the “trivial many:” You must start by escaping, exploring and evaluating.

The way of the Essentialist is to explore and evaluate a broad set of options before committing to any. Because Essentialists will commit and “go big” on only the vital few ideas or activities, they explore more options at first to ensure they pick the right one later.

ESCAPE: Enjoy the perks of being unavailable Whether you can invest two hours a day, two weeks a year, or even just five minutes every morning, it is important to make space to escape in your busy life. When was your last episode of deep reflection? Pablo Picaso said, “Without great solitude, no serious work is possible.

  • The overworked pastor is too busy doing ministry to think about life
  • The essential pastor creates space to escape and explore life

EXPLORE: Observe what really matters Essentialists are powerful observers and listeners. Knowing that the reality of trade-offs means they can’t possibly pay attention to everything, they listen deliberately for what is not being explicitly stated. What have others been saying that you haven’t wanted to listen to? What has God been saying to you? What are people talking about everyday about the ministry?

  • The overworked pastor pays attention to the loudest voice
  • The essential pastor pays attention to the signal in the noise

EVALUATE: Decide what matters most Through process of escaping and exploring the goal is to evaluate. What ministry is most important? Where is God a work? What relationships require the most energy? What is the most important thing I must today to advance the mission? Of course these questions can be asked for seasons in ministry or your task list this week. In my work with churches we try answer this first on the broadest level, “What can your church do better than 10,000 others?” We call it the Kingdom Concept. Only then do we move further in the process of planning.

  • The overworked pastor is overwhelmed by all the information
  • The essential pastor scans to find the essence of the information

ESSENTIAL LIVING: You can do it As you decide what matters most, you will run into things that wage war with your decision—the trivial many will want to push there way through! Specifically I struggle with three- the momentum of yesterday, the emotion of the moment, and the interruptions of the day. It’s natural to struggle, but the more you practice the more you’ll progress.  The single greatest tool I use in general to be an “essential pastor” is the Vision Frame that guides my ministry, my family and my life. The single greatest tool I use to practice essentialism each day, is to identify the two most important things I can accomplish by 11:00am.

November 15, 2014

3 Mindsets You Must Conquer to Live Your Mission Each Day

Living your mission each day requires an emotional, daily connection to one core or essential idea. That one thing applies to your life, family, church and vocation. To stay focused on your one thing requires conquering three mindsets. 

This post kicks off a series on Jesus, Church Leadership and Essentialism. It is a simple remix of my experience with churches, my understanding of Jesus’ life and the recent work of Greg McKeown, called Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.

Remember that essentialism is a broad category of philosophy that goes back to Plato and Aristotle. But McKeown masterfully applies some guiding ideas of essentialism to a practical application in a business context. My enthusiasm for his work is rooted in my own purpose for life: Jesus has created and called me to glorify God and serve others by “applying essence.” That is, helping people and Christ-centered organizations live out of the core (essence) of their God-given design and calling. And remember you have a unique design (Ephesians 2:10).

McKeown opens his book by challenging us with how hard it is to stick to the essential stuff of our lives.

What is the core mind-set of an Essentialist?

Essentialism is not a way to do one more thing: it is a different way of doing everything. It is a way of thinking. But internalizing this way of thinking is not a neutral challenge. This is because certain ideas – and people peddling those ideas – constantly pull us toward the logic of Nonessentialism.

McKeown asserts that there are three deeply entrenched assumptions or mindsets we must conquer to live the way of the Essentialist:

  1. “I have to”
  2. “It’s all important”
  3. “ I can do both”

These mindsets continually lead us to do more than we should. They get us dabbling in the nonessentials. We drift, we cruise and we get distracted. Like mythological sirens, these assumptions are as dangerous as they are seductive. They draw us in and drown us in shallow waters.

To embrace the most important stuff of life, McKeown suggests we must replace these false assumptions with three core convictions:

  1. “I choose to”
  2. “Only a few things really matter”
  3. “I can do anything but not everything.”

These simple truths awaken us from what McKeown calls our “nonessential stupor.”  They free us to pursue what really matters. They enable us to live at our highest level of contribution.

So how do these ideas measures up against the life of Jesus. Was Jesus an essentialist? 

I believe so!

But I would suggest that we have to modify McKoewn’s sequence a bit to anchor it with a biblical perspective. To do so we will take the 1-2-3, and make it a 3-2-1 with one restatement. Lets start with changing “I can do anything but not everything” with “I was created for something not everything” and then reverse the steps:

  1. “I was created for something not everything”
  2. therefore… “Only a few things really matter”
  3. therefore… “I choose to”

Jesus’s lived his mission each day by conquering three mindsets.

Believe You Were Created for Something Specific, not Everything

Jesus conquered “I can do both” with “I was created for something not everything.” Okay, since Jesus was not created, let’s substitute, “I was sent for something not everything.”Jesus reveals his crystal clarity at several points in the gospel accounts, but perhaps no where better than in John 17:4: I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.Here we see Jesus identifying a specific purpose and work—his mission on earth. The context of knowing his essential reason for being on earth will root his daily difficult choices not in selfish ambition or narrow-mindedness but in the Father’s intent for sending him. And for us, in the Father’s intent of our created design. Until you believe that there is an essence, you will not pursue the discovery of  it with passion.

Define Your Mission Until it Emotionally Connects, not Evaporates. 

The bottom line is that most people haven’t processed there calling so that it remains fixed in their mind and heart. It stays vague, and ambiguous therefore constantly evaporates from mental focus and heart connection. Jesus shows that he “kept it close” through a stunning articulation. The best example is Mark 10:45: For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. In this problem solving moment with his disciples Jesus goes to essence, because he had emotionally processed his essence. It was defined and it was articulated. As Aubrey Malphurs once said, “You will never do anything that matters until you define what matters.”

Use the power of choice every day.

McKeown reminds us that the Essentialist knows that when we surrender our right to choose, we give others not just the power but also the explicit permission to choose for us. The questions is, how does Jesus show us the hard decisions he makes each day through the alignment of daily choices to core essence. Two stunning examples show us the extremely difficult choices he made.

The first is in Luke 2:46. This is the first opportunity to glimpse Jesus making an “autonomous” decision as a 12-year old boy. He decides against the expected—returning home with his parents from Jerusalem—and stays in the temple to learn: After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. By this time his parents are in a panic. They returned home from their family vacation without their son! And Jesus knew it. He had elevated his mission above the emotional well being of of his earthly parents. 

The second is snapshot was one if his first moments of popularity. The crowd wants Jesus to stick around in Luke 4:42. But Jesus must leave. He insists on the emotionally difficult choice to say “no” to the people with a clear reminder of his essence in verse forty three: But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent. Jesus leaves the people, denying their request and continues his movement mission in town after town after town.

Jesus was an essentialist and I think, you should be too:

You have an essence and you either you know it or you don’t.

You have an essence and you have either articulated it you haven’t.

You have one life to live and you will make mission-led decisions everyday or you will let someone else’s agenda do it for you.