Posts Tagged ‘leadership’

This year, I am going to post creative challenges from God’s Word, the idea is simple, read the passage and create something based on it.

Well I dropped the ball yesterday, so sorry about that. Things have been a little busy here of late. Yesterday in addition to my usual church work, I was finishing up work on a Deacon’s Retreat I’m presenting tomorrow. So I think today I am going to take you to the text I am using to see what you can do with it.

Ephesians 4:11-17

The passage talks about leadership gifts and how they are to be used in the Body of Christ. What in this passage stands out to you and how might you express it to the people around you.

This is a straight up business book and it is quite good and very thought provoking. You might wonder why an artist, speaker and minister of the Gospel would take the time to read such a book. Well as my friend Craig Smith often says, “Sometimes you can take a business book and baptize it for the church.” This is just such a book.

What do I mean? Well what do businesses and churches have in common? The primary element of commonality is people. Whether in business or church people are being led and more importantly empowered. Successful churches work because they empower their people to be all that they can be and as such many of the principles in this book are transferable, or at least I found them to be so.

This book is about new ways to do business and run companies. His chapters are in some cases counterintuitive, and yet Burkus cites real life companies, and some pretty major players at that, that are innovating in these areas to great success. Things like outlawing email. Who hasn’t fallen into the pit of spending so much time answering emails that you get no actual work done? One of my favorites is Putting Customers Second. This has been a peeve of mine since my days in retail management. If I had a dollar for every time I had to satisfy the unrealistic demands of often dishonest people, I could have quit that awful job. Now consider how motivated I was in those conditions and as a result, everyone suffered. In the church world, the people I work with and lead are largely volunteers. I need to take care of them and bless them and put them first. These are just two of the principles.

This is a great business book, but it’s more. Most of it’s principles are really transferrable to other aspects of life. I really didn’t know what to expect from this book but I took a chance on a review copy and I am very pleased that I did. If you are in leadership of any kind (and who isn’t) this book just might be worth your time.

Hi my name is Dave Weiss and I am a leader. If you’re reading this, chances are you are too. As a matter of fact, almost everyone leads someone and in that case, the vast majority of us are leaders. You’ll see why this is important in a minute.

Yesterday I got a notice from Facebook, telling me I have been a member for 10 years. A decade on Facebook, what are the odds? Well the odds go down every election year and they are really slim this year. Were it not for the fact that I stay in contact with a lot of people for the sake of this ministry on Facebook, I might have been gone. It’s not that I’m a huge Trump supporter. I’m not. It’s just that I’m a leader.

My main leadership role is my pastorate at Springfield Church of the Brethren. We have a membership that is probably between 80 and 100 people, give or take, and regular attendance of about 50-55. That is a fairly small group and while I know I am loved, and the people there are all extremely kind and gracious to me, I’m not foolish enough to believe that I can please all of them all of the time. Now let’s multiply that exponentially and talk about the president, congress, etc. They lead millions. The U.S. population is over 300 million people. The odds of pleasing all of us simultaneously are slim to none. With social media we see the ugliness of this like no other generation has seen. The bashing I see there is virtually inexcusable. People seem to think they have all the answers and they seem to feel like we would be in some sort of Panacea, had the other person won. I doubt this is true but this is not a post about politics, it’s a post about leadership.

Leadership is hard, largely because there are no easy answers and many people don’t want to be led. No leader can please everyone. We Christians know this because we see what happened to the only perfect, all-knowing leader who ever walked the earth. There is something else we need to remember. Jesus, who pleased very few as He walked the earth, walked right down the center of the will of God. Because of this, He is a righteous leader and we must do the same. In my study of the book of Acts this is made apparent. Peter and John healed a man in the presence of many and got locked up for it. The Sanhedrin (think the ancient Hebrew Supreme Court) is in a pickle. They can’t deny the miracle has been done and yet to accept the miracle would be to acknowledge that they (the religious leaders of the people) had a part in killing the Messiah. Their solution is to order Peter and John to no longer speak in the name of Jesus. Peter’s reply is epic. “Which is right to obey God or obey you?” Catching the irony in that statement is crucial. Should we obey God or the leaders, because we can’t do both? In other words one is wrong. It’s either God of the leadership, and it can’t be God. The leaders of the people are not following God. Therein is what it all comes down to.

If you can’t please everybody, and you almost never can, please God! This may or may not make you popular, but you will always be headed in the right direction. You are a leader. Speak the truth in love. Love the people you lead and follow God whether it’s popular or not. In the end this is what’s right.

Remember, you’re only a leader if someone is following you and if someone is following you, you’re responsible for where you lead them. Lead them where God wants to go. That’s real leadership.

PRAY FOR THE CHURCHsmIt was the question that stopped me in my tracks. Not because I didn’t know the answer, but because I sort of thought the person asking would think I was making it up as I go. It happened at my interview. I had started as the interim pastor. My intention was to come in, stay a few months and help the church keep going while they found their permanent pastor. Then I would put them in that pastor’s capable hands and back out on the road I would go. My job wasn’t to change things or impose my vision, it was to prepare them to receive the next person’s vision and run with it. But something happened. We both (the congregation and I) began to realize that I was the next person. Frankly I was very happy.

From there the question was how to proceed. The congregation already knew me, so how would the interview process go? How could we get everyone on board? While some would say I was just continuing on, the role had actually changed pretty substantially. All of the sudden my vision mattered. All of the sudden the question became “How would I lead this 150 year old church into the next phase of its life?” We decided to have a night where the congregation could ask me their questions. And that’s when I got the question:

What’s Your Vision for This Church?

My answer was the same as it is on this blog, well, okay not exactly. This space is more arts and creativity focused, but the principle remains the same. My vision is to help other people find and use their talents to live out their vision. I know to some “my vision is to help you live your vision” sounds a lot like a cop out. Here’s why it’s not:

If it’s just my vision, then it’s all my idea, and you will only get as excited about it as I can make you. The idea, the continuing ideas needed to implement it and motivating you to bring the idea to fruition, all of that depends on me. You might be saying, “That’s leadership.” and to a degree you would be right, but I see something better.

If it’s your vision, then it’s your idea. You’re already passionate about it and there is an excitement, maybe even a desperation to bring it to reality. Now I can come along side you and help you and find the people that can help you. I can look at all the gifts of the church and work with you, encourage you and build you up. Imagine a church where people were living their dreams, seeing the great things in their hearts and minds happening. If that’s not a contagious church, I don’t know what is. That’s why it’s a big part of my vision.

About now, some of you are seeing the problem. There is a name, two names actually, missing from this post. I did that intentionally to bring us to this point. Those names, of course, are God and Jesus. If it’s my vision, it all depends on me. That load is too heavy for me to bear alone. If it’s your vision then I can help you bear the load and work with you to make it happen. But what if it’s God’s vision? What if you were seeking God and He laid something on your heart? What if God’s vision becomes your vision? Now all of the sudden the Spirit of God is giving the passion. Now the Spirit of God is your encourager. Now the Spirit of God is your provider and now when you come to the end of yourself and your abilities, you can watch in awe as the Creator of the Universe comes in and does something amazing to bring His vision, the one He laid on your heart, to fruition. Now it doesn’t all depend on me, and it doesn’t all depend on you and me. Now it all depends on the One on whom it ACTUALLY all depends, God.

Now imagine that that was happening in the lives of believer after believer after believer. As people are coming together to live out God sized dreams in the church, the neighborhood, the nation, maybe even the world. Can you imagine what a church like that could do? Neither can I but I love to try.

That’s my vision for the church. What’s your vision?

Hi everyone,
Maybe it’s me, but I doubt it. I am looking at making a transition to a new role. I will give more on this at a later date, and have no fear my creative arts ministry and this website will be continuing regardless, but the new role will be more leadership than artistry. While I am thrilled and excited there is always this little part of me that wonders how well I will do at being both leader and artist. God’s providence and timing are absolutely uncanny as this morning while going through Rory Noland’s classic, Heart of the Artist, he wrote about experiencing the same struggle. As music director of one of the nations most influential churches he found himself in a struggle, making him ask the question should he quit leadership and be a full time artist, or quit his art and be a full time leader. God told him what I believe He is telling me and maybe you. He wants unto be both.

Here are excerpts from the chapter…
“Be a Full-Time Artist
1 Timothy 4:14 says, “Do not neglect your gift.” Don’t give up on your art. Don’t neglect your talent. Don’t worry about whether you’re talented enough. That’s not the point. Whether your gift attracts large crowds or no crowds at all, it’s not to be neglected. Be a full-time artist…”

“Be a Full-Time Leader
We desperately need leadership in church programming ministries these days. I see a lot of artists sharing back from leadership because they don’t see themselves to be the leader type. We may not fit the stereotype of the leader who runs a business or heads a company, but God hasn’t called us to lead a business, He’s called us to lead artists. I’ve come to the conclusion that the best person to lead artists is someone who’s an artist. Some of you are holding back from taking strong leadership because you’re waiting for someone else to come along and tell you it’s okay. Don’t wait for the pastor or someone else you respect to say, “You’re good at this. Do it.” Don’t wait for someone else to empower you. If you’ve been called to lead, Jesus hs given you the authority to lead. Stop waiting for someone else to validate you.”

Now of course the last part of this assumes you are in a leadership role in your church, but if you’re not, gather a group of creatives and work together. Create on your own and work toward getting your work to where it needs to be. Some will create for the church, others will create beyond the walls but if God is calling you to lead, start leading and as you lead, pray. If God has called, He will open the doors.

You can be both an artist and a leader. As a matter of fact, we need all the leaders we can get, because I am convinced that arts ministry is a move of God and Noland is right, the best person to lead artists is an artist.

Maybe it’s time to take the lead.

Just curious as to what you are reading these days. I have read a couple excellent books over the last couple years.

Needless to say I am reading the Bible. Last year I did a study of the parables of Jesus and while I continue to read them, this year I am on a simple cover to cover devotional plan. I calculated that if I read four chapters a day I will be able to read though the scripture in a little less than a year. I’m an advocate of reading for distance, when reading for devotions.

Last year I read Erwin McManus’ book The Artisan Soul three times. (I read for myself then again to prepare to lead a book study and then with the group.) It is a phenomenal book and a must read for anyone in creative ministry.

I also read Manuel Luz’ wonderful book Imagine That. I met Manuel at a creative ministry conference and he has some amazing ideas. This is another must read.

I just finished The Creative Call by Janet Elshimer. This is definitely more of a work book and I read it for possible use with my church creative arts team.

My current read is Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull. This is a business book written by one of the founders of Pixar. Laced among the stories of Pixar are solid creative business principles. This is great stuff.

Lastly, here is a freebie, written by yours truly, Ministering to the Creative Soul. I would love to get your thoughts on it. It’s also available for Kindle and in print on Amazon.

On my stack to read is Wisdom Meets Passion by Dan Miller.

Leaders are readers, what are you reading?

Yesterday, I launched into a bit of a diatribe about dialogue and how obedience is better. You may have wondered why I went there. Well here’s the truth, for those of us entrusted to leadership, obedience is key. It’s vital. Imagine if you’re trying to lead, but all those entrusted to you (because leadership is a sacred trust) decide to go their own way. Your leadership pretty much ceases when the people cease to follow. I am pretty well convinced that this is what happens to our Lord when we decide to dialogue and debate rather than follow His lead.

To lead effectively, we must follow the Lord. After all isn’t He the one who entrusted us with leadership in the first place. Leadership is not about doing it our way, it’s about leading people His way. All leaders, they know it or not, have been entrusted with their position from the Lord. (Romans 13:1) When a leader breaks trust, all the people under their care are impacted. I’ve seen this happen and it’s not pretty. It leaves people broken and brokenhearted, it damages and wreaks havoc. It hurts.

Creative friend, we have been entrusted with creating things that make people think and hopefully point people toward God’s truth. That is a form of leadership. Additionally many of us have been entrusted with leading groups of creatives. This amplifies the responsibility we have to be faithful followers of Christ. What we do matters. How we act matters. How we live matters. Our choices matter and they matter not just to us, but all who have been placed in our care. Where we lead they will follow. This is why it is imperative that we follow God and not just our version of God.

Bad leadership damages and destroys. God’s leadership saves and rescues.

How will you lead?

Do Something... Lead, Follow or Get Out of the WayI once heard the story of a person passed over for a ministry because “the more traditional Christians might not respond well to his creative approach.” Needless to say, I resonated with this story.

A couple thoughts came to mind. In a world where everything humanity knows doubles ever 1.5 years, a creative approach is not an option for the church, it’s a necessity. How else will we take the unchanging message of the Gospel to a rapidly changing world? Our declining numbers in the church prove this to be true.

But here’s the other thing. If a person has been a follower of Jesus Christ long enough to become a “traditional Christian” I think one of the following must be true. They should be qualified to lead. If they don’t feel the call to be leaders (and not everyone does), they should have been under the authority of Christ and the local pastor/body of Christ long enough to be amazing followers able to follow their leaders into new and fertile mission fields or at the very least they should be able to get out of the way.

Now when I write get out of the way, I’m not meaning they should leave the church or that they are irrelevant or unnecessary. I’m simply stating that they should have the spiritual maturity to realize that just because something does not appeal to them, does not mean it will not appeal to someone and that they should stand back, allow the effort to proceed, pray that it bears fruit and not get in the way of what God is trying to do. Of course I’m not talking about righteously opposing something unscriptural, that is a mandate for us all. I’m talking about opposing things because they’re not the way we’ve always done it. If we only do what we’ve always done, we’re doomed or at the very least way off task.

Truth be known, a lot of this has been caused, in my opinion, by the way we view our leaders in the American Church. We’ve started to see them as employees to be hired and fired at will, based on whether or not they take us where we want to go. My next words will sound cold, but it’s not about you and where you want to go and your pastor is not your employee. Your pastor is called by God to take you where God wants you to go. Of course there are checks and balances in place to ensure pastors don’t abuse power, but if you are opposing your leaders because they are taking you where God wants you to go, who are you really opposing? Check yourself.

I used to say the church exists for those outside it, to reach people beyond it’s walls and while I still consider that (as well as worshipping God) to be our primary purpose, I have mellowed just a little. Ephesians 4 calls out five gifts that were given for the purpose of leading the church: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Now one might think these are the people who are supposed to do the work of the church, but that is in fact not the case.

The job of church leaders according to Ephesians 4:12,13 is “to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Translation, your church leaders’ jobs are to help YOU to do the work of ministry, build up the body (reaching out and discipling), uniting the body behind Jesus, and teaching us to follow Him until we become like Him. Their job is to help you find and do your job to the glory of God.

Once you consider how many different people and different jobs there are that could be being done, you will gain a greater realization for the need for creativity in the church and especially in church leadership. And once you start to do your God-given assignment, you’ll see that you want people to do one of three things…

Lead, Follow or get out of the way.

Which one are your doing and are you getting in anyone’s way?

CREACHER Everybody is a Leader of Someone
Everybody is a leader of someone. Where are you leading them?

Jessie Nilo leads a great ministry in Boise, ID called VineArts. She has shared quite a few videos on building and running an art ministry. This is three minutes of gold for anyone thinking of starting a creative arts ministry.