A Vital Ingredient for an Effective Leader

To be an effective leader you have to have resolve…grit… fortitude or you will give up when it counts the most! As leaders of organizations that are leading the way we will face obstacles that few face. We will face challenges that are far greater than we could have imagined and if we do not have that resolve, that deep inner desire to take action and find the solution to keep our team moving forward, we will crumble to the circumstance.

James said… “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” James 1:2-3

That we should actually find joy in these crazy circumstances that we face not because it is fun going through stressful moments, but because it is refining ourselves as leaders and our organizations.  That is why he continues with this statement…

And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:4

That as we develop resolve or steadfastness we become perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. That these situations pull out the best in us and we start walking in the fullness of our potential.  When the balls in our hands and there is a few seconds left on the clock we act.  The more we act the more natural those situations become, though still not easy, and the more confident our organization becomes.  If you fear challenges to the point of inaction then you are greatly limiting your potential.

So where does this resolve come from? Well James goes on to explain…

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5

Resolve comes from Godly wisdom.  That we serve a God that moves in the practical just as much as He moves in the spiritual yet many of us never seek Godly wisdom.  The Holy Spirit connects with our spirit and gives us wisdom, counsel, knowledge, and understanding if we just ask.  Great leaders are leaders that lead through prayer and understand that God speaks and guides His people.  However, it doesn’t just end in prayer there must be a response of action that follows the guidance.

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:6-8

Godly wisdom is only complete when we trust the guidance, will, and promises of God.  If we waiver like the waves in the sea back and forth then we will not receive anything from God.  Resolve is not double-minded in that it does not bounce from trusting God to trusting this rational world.  That this audacious resolve trusts fully the nature, the will, and the promises of God.  That God always has our best intentions at heart and when He tells us to take steps of faith we will respond with obedience. Even when the answer is bigger than ourselves we trust a God that is bigger than our circumstances.

The lord will guarantee a blessing on everything you do and will fill your storehouses with grain. The lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.” Deuteronomy 28:8

Have the confidence that God is guaranteeing success in your life when you are trusting the wisdom He gives you and responding to His promises.  Your storehouses will be filled and blessings will come with every new opportunity. So build the resolve to fight through the temporary to experience your destiny.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed it, leave a comment I would love to hear from you!

JUST START

I would venture to say that the majority of successful people are those who pursued their dreams despite having less than ideal circumstances and far from a guarantee that their ventures would prevail. However, the majority of people will not pursue their dreams to the fullest unless the circumstances line up in a way that can guarantee success.  Unfortunately life doesn’t work that way and that is why the most dreams look more like wishes.

You have to start somewhere and you must know everyone starts small with very little physical evidence that there will be success. I heard it describe that the very act of starting a business or being your own boss is an act of the utmost courage! However in the midst of that courage we can walk towards a higher purpose that is bigger than ourselves.

Tim Urban once referred to everyone as blank canvases, but unfortunately most people are just painting white on white.  They are working, but no one really notices. It is easy to hit cruise control in life and work through our days, weeks, and years with very little impact. Very few people live beyond themselves to add a splash of color in this world.

Now dreams don’t have to be these lavish things that must be world renowned, but they do need to be relationally rich.  They do need to be able to impact those in our sphere of influence.  Some people’s sphere is larger than others, but we all have the ability to impact lives for the better.  I can promise you that life will never make sense until you live for something bigger than yourself and until you start pouring your life into some one else.

I felt today very quickly that I simply wanted to share with you and maybe give you the permission to START! Just start! Start that business plan, build that website, start writing that book, start that blog, enroll in school, start serving, start that LifeGroup, start hustling on the side… Yes it is scary…Yes you have a ton to learn… Yes it will harder than you can ever imagine… Yes you will have to work your tail off… But YES it will be worth it.  Tune out the fears that are screaming “what if you fail” or “what if it sets you back” and know that setbacks are just give you a running start towards something greater! JUST START!

I wanted to leave you with an excerpt from J. Oswald Sanders’ book Spiritual Leadership

Procrastination, the thief of time, is one of the devil’s most potent weapons for defrauding us of eternal heritage. The habit of “putting off” is fatal to spiritual leadership. Its power resides in our natural reluctance to come to grips with important decisions. Making decisions, and acting on them, always requires moral energy. But the passing of time never makes action easier, quite the opposite. Most decisions are more difficult a day later, and you may also lose an advantage by such delay.

I wrote this blog yesterday at around 6AM and Gary posted this yesterday afternoon so I thought it was fitting!

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed it, leave a comment I would love to hear from you!

YOUR GREATEST MARKETING TOOL

marketing-toolI would probably say that the #1 question most pastors or church planters ask me is “how do I get the word out about our church?” or “how do we get more people to come to our church?” and for good reasons. Marketing your organization or product is a huge priority for any business and that includes for the church because if people don’t know you exist it doesn’t matter how great your services are…They aren’t coming!

We have to spread the word about what we are doing and we should want to because we should be excited about what we are a part of.  The problem is most people go about marketing all the wrong ways and spend WAY TOO MUCH money on advertising that just simply doesn’t have the ROI for the capital it costs.

Nine years ago, the world changed when apple literally took a computer and put it in your pocket in the form of a phone.  Never in a million years did we think it would be possible this soon to have a computer with internet connection carrying around with you where ever you go.  In this moment the death of traditional advertising started to happen.  Advertising and marketing had always been very costly and with this new creation, why spend it on those means anymore?  Radio? What is that— we have Spotify, Pandora, and Podcasts.  Newspapers, ummm, we get our news online…  Billboards, who even looks up from their phones these days?  The world has changed and we must understand this shift or we will be spinning our wheels and watching our organizations continue to plateau and decline.

So where should we sit in this new world of connections and what should be our focus? The answer is easy, but the response is something that takes much more effort.  We live in an ecosystem that no longer wants to be sold, but connected and inspired and this is the beauty of social networks.  They are platforms thats soul purpose is to connect and give you, the organization, the ability say whatever you want.  Now, that can be dangerous or empowering and it is completely up to you which of those paths you take.  You have the ability to connect with people; that would be impossible before. You have that ability to add value to their life in ways that were much more difficult a decade ago. Coming from a Pastors stand point, our job is not to gather large crowds, but to see lives changed for Jesus and that means we should use any tool at our disposal to add value to people.  The great thing is when you connect with people, add value, share your story, and inspire then you also see the growth in your physical location following the growth that is taking place online.

My next posts I want to talk about “HOW” we do social media effectively, but today I just wanted to discuss “WHY” we need to have an online presence.

So some “Next Steps” for you to work on until our next posts…

  1. If you haven’t already, create accounts on the different social networks.  For most churches the two I tell everyone to focus on are Facebook and Instagram.  There are several you can choose from, but I would rather be really effective on a few platforms than “okay” on several platforms.  Also these two platforms have the widest reach for your community.  Build a business Facebook page, not a personal Facebook page for your organization.  Facebook is the largest social media site and hits the most age demographics. Next create an Instagram profile.  Instagram is great for organizations because most people are very visually driven and in doing so we digest the content more. Instagram allows all posts to be seen by its followers unlike the Facebook algorithms.  Instagram also has created features that look a feel like Snapchat in many ways and unlike Snapchat it is much easier to search for profiles which make finding your page much more accessible.
  2. Now you need to make sure your information is up to date on all your platforms.  The right profile pictures, web addresses, physical addresses, and service times.  It is a big turn off when information is not updated or incorrect.
  3. Make sure your branding stays consistent.  Your branding, your design look, needs to be the same at your physical location, on your website, and on all your social sites.  It is extremely confusing when these things do not line up because people question whether it is the same organization, and if it is, then they start wondering why there is no harmony.  I am going to dive into this more on the next posts, but don’t brand yourself online what you are not in person.  BE YOU because if you try to act like you are something online that you are not really in person then when they visit they will immediately have red flags go up and completely miss your heart.
What are your thoughts on how much our culture has changed over the last decade when it comes to Marketing and advertising?

Consistency is EVERYTHING!

Guess what?  Overnight success is a BIG FAT LIE.  It is a myth and does not exist!  Success only happens when we do the right things consistently over an extended period of time… If you have ever read Jim Collin’s book “Good to Great” he calls this the Flywheel concept.  That at first it is extremely difficult to push the lever and get the flywheel moving, but if you keep pushing soon momentum will take over.

I am convinced most people never live their dreams because they don’t have the grit to stay committed to the process.  Commitment without a time limit leads to a Dream without a height limit.  Most people have great ideas and great dreams, but most people never see those ideas and dreams manifest into reality because they don’t have the resolve to see them through.  Dreams and ideas are easy.  Everyone has dreams. Yet very few people actually live their dreams. Why? Because very few people are willing to stay consistent long enough to see results.  A farmer doesn’t plant seeds and then after a week gets mad because they haven’t sprouted immediately so he ignores them and then goes and plants something else.  No he understands it takes time for things to grow and during that process he waters them, fertilizes them, and is constantly removing the weeds so those plants can flourish.  We must do that with our dreams, ideas, and our organizations.

Is it hard? You better believe it is hard.  You have to hustle in those moments of waiting, you have to have faith, and you must be disciplined to stay committed to the process.  Dreams without discipline are just fantasies and too many people are living fantasies when we were intended to turn those dreams into realities.

So how do we stay committed during the process?

1. Know where you want to end up.

It is important to picture what your dream would look like completed.  Picture the end result… If the book was completed what would the cover look like, if the storefront was up and running how would it be laid out with all its products, if the website was running how would it function, what would your logo be, how would your week run if you were working your dream Full Time, design the house you want to build, or what is your perfect clothing size? Whatever your dream is start picturing the dream completed so that you have a target in mind.

2. Set Goals.

Goals are meant to be steps that lead to your dreams.  Now that you know where you are heading start figuring out your first steps and give yourself a deadline to accomplish them.  Create a list of 5 or so goals and give yourself 4 to 8 weeks to accomplish them.  When you start attacking your goals in small chunks and in short spurts of time you become less overwhelmed and you naturally create momentum for yourself.

3. Figure out where you need to grow.

There are certain areas you will need to grow in to see your goals accomplished.  Be honest with yourself and come up with a few things you need to develop to fulfill your goals you just set for yourself.  Maybe you need to develop discipline to stay focused and use your time wisely, maybe you need to recruit a team and you need to work on vision casting, or maybe you need work on being more organized so you can accomplish your tasks with everything else you are working on.  Do an honest assessment of yourself every time you set new goals and watch your goals get accomplished and leadership increase.

4. Do NOT Quit.

Just make the commitment now that you are committed to the process.  Quiting is NOT an option and you ARE going to stay committed to the process.

Do the right things, the right way, consistently, and watch the growth happen in your organization and your life!