Yes, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted on my blog. I should tell you, for starters, that since my last post, “The Kiss of God,” I’ve been enjoying the presence of God in a fresh and powerful way. I’ve been infusing my mind, body, heart and soul with worship music, scripture and prayer… and I just can’t get enough.
Now I find myself sitting at the Global Leadership Summit hosted by Bill Hybels and Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, IL. I’m actually sitting at a satellite site in Colorado Springs along with the amazing staff team from Academy Christian Church. I’m really looking forward to the ways in which God is going to speak to us in the next two days. I believe He wants to raise our leadership level for the greater things He has in store for our congregation.
So I’ve decided to share my note-taking with you. If you can get anything out of this, great! Be blessed and keep being a blessing to those around you!
Bill Hybels (Senior Pastor at Willow Creek Community Church) – Five Critical Questions
1. What is your current leadership challenge level at work?
Under-Challenged; Appropriately Challenged; Dangerously Over-Challenged (D.O.C.)
You do your best work right above the line of ‘Appropriately Challenged’. Think about stressing your muscles properly. If you don’t stress them enough during a work out, you won’t get the results you are aiming for. If you over stress them you will break them down and cause injury.
If leaders don’t challenge themselves more, their leadership gifts and talents will atrophy.
Under-challenged people in an organization or department leave.
Do you think it’s possible for organizations to be D.O.C., Appropriately Challenged, or Under-Challenged? The answer is yes! It’s possible to over-rev your organization or team. It’s also possible to under-challenge and have the whole organization get sleepy on you.
2. What is your plan for dealing with challenging people in your organization?
How long would you tolerate a guy who has a really bad attitude and is spreading it around like poison? A week, a month, a year? At Willow, as soon as they see a pattern developing, they sit down and talk and give him 30 days to resolve whatever is going on.
How do you handle under-performers? How long do you live with someone who, as the Bible says, is not worth their hire? A week, a month, a year? At Willow, they need attention as soon as the pattern is identified and the conversation will occur. Is there confusion about the job description? Is the person under-resourced? Do they need coaching? The person is given 3 months to fix it.
How do you handle great team members who perform to their top level with great attitudes, but they do not have the “talent elasticity” to stay in their role because the organization has outgrown and expanded their capacity. At Willow they give 6 to 12 months to honor their service and help them anyway they can. They are very generous in a severance package or they try to find a different place in the organization. This may be very hard but it must be done.
Fantastic people feed off the energy of other fantastic people. These hard decisions must be made because the negative impact of difficult people can absolutely kill the forward momentum and drain everyone’s energy.
3. Are you naming, facing and resolving the problems that exist within your organization?
Why can’t we call problems problems and turn over heaven and earth to try to solve them? Acts 6 shows how the early church took care of their problems. Leaders! Call a time out. Courageously name your problem and address it.
Nothing rocks forever! The life-cycle of a ministry looks like this: Accelerating – Booming – Decelerating – Tanking. Don’t ever let a ministry that is in the “Decelerating” phase get to the “Tanking” phase. Create a reinvention team and take it right back to the “Accelerating” phase. Arrest the tired ideas and inject them back into the ministry so it can get on a new curve. It’s so exciting when leaders name their problems and start the problem-solving process.
4. When is the last time you reexamined the core of what your organization is all about?
Ask “What’s our main thing?” “What business are we in?” Are we clear enough about our core that we could put it on the front of a T-Shirt?
It’s easier than you think it is for churches to “lose the plot.” The Bible is clear…we are in the “people-transformation” business. There is only one thing powerful enough to do this. The Bible calls it “the good news.” Do this exercise. In five words, explain or summarize the central message of Christianity and write them in the circle. Bill’s five words…
Love – “God so loved the world!” No other religion or system in all the world is based on this.
Evil – It is clear that evil exists in the world, but it also exists in our own hearts.
Rescue – Redemption is available as a gift.
Choice – You don’t have to choose this stuff.
Restore – God works toward inner-restoration so that you end up join in a group of people (the church) that all work together to help God restore this broken world.
Distilling it all down to your five words will cause you to become so focused that you will find ways to use these five words in everything. You’ll find yourself loving this “restoration” work more than you ever have before!
5. Have you had your leadership bell rung recently?
Has any book, talk with God, leadership crisis, etc, rocked your world? Great leaders recognize when God is trying to shake them and wake them up.
When a leader is sick enough of being stuck, they will get on the solution side of the problem and do whatever it takes to get it done. Problem is, the leaders don’t necessarily recognize that they are stuck. That’s when they need their bell rung by God! Events like the Leadership Summit are summosed to “ring someone’s bell.”
Personal Insight: What am I going to do to make sure my next 5 years in ministry are going to be my best 5? It all comes down to me. Do I want to give God and my fellow leaders the absolute best for the cause? I do! Absolutely! My commitment is to keep pressing on with my Master’s in Church Leadership at HIU. I am always motivated when I am right above the “Appropriately Challenged” line and I know that continuing to pursue this will help me stay focused and give my best to the church.