Who has Removed our Spine?

You might remember a Flo TV ad that debuted in a Super Bowl several years ago. Sports announcer, Jim Nance voice-overs the sad spectacle of Jason Glasby being led around the lingerie department by his girlfriend. Nance says: “Hello, friends. We have an injury report on Jason Glasby. As you can see, his girlfriend has removed his spine, rendering him incapable of watching the game.”

I’m wondering about the injury report on the Church in North America. Who has removed our spine?

To lead your church well pastor, re-introduce yourself to the adventurous life.

Edwin Friedman, in “A Failure of Nerve,” observed: “What our civilization needs most is leaders with a bold sense of adventure… Our nation’s obsession with safety ignores the fact that every American alive today benefits from centuries of risk-taking by previous generations… every modern benefit from health to enjoyment to production has come about because Americans in previous generations put adventure before safety.”

-Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at www.KirlinCoaching.com/blog/

 

#leadership #courage #pastor #Jesus #courageousleadership #LeadershipCourage

Pastors as Leaders

Where and when did the role of pastor become so closely associated with the characteristics of terrible leadership: anemic, people-pleasing, comfort-oriented, weakness-honoring, safety-bound, consensus-collecting, approval-seeking, distress-abating caretaking?

How did we get from the decisive, principle-inspired boldness of Jesus with the money-changers [Matthew 21], Paul provoking a riot in Ephesus [Acts 19], and Peter’s boldness on the first Pentecost [Acts 2], to this?

Consider the frightening judgment of Ananias and Sapphira [Acts 5], the way the power of God rested on Stephen at his stoning [Acts 6], and the arrest of early church leaders for “turning the world upside down” [Acts 17:6].

How have we settled for a religious experience so predictable, routinized, and boring that men of any age, and people under the age of 40 stay away in droves?

-Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at www.KirlinCoaching.com/blog/

 

#leadership #courage #pastor #Jesus #courageousleadership #LeadershipCourage

With your Pioneers

The key, Pastor, is to disproportionately invest your time and attention in the pioneers, the risk-takers, and the adventurers in your congregation. Lead the ones who are willing to be led by you!

Suspend that very powerful impulse to convince the resisters and to involve the belongers on the leading edge of change. They will watch from afar, and once it seems safe to them, they will begin to play.

In the meantime, have a blast with your pioneers.

Make a difference in the lives of those you’re serving.

Enjoy what God does in, through, and around you.

–Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at www.KirlinCoaching.com/

 

#leadership #courage #courageousleadership #leadershipcourage #Jesus #pastor #discipleship

Introduce Change Exclusively with Pioneers

I’ve suggested that people have trained themselves, over their lifetimes, as to how they respond to change. A pastor’s job is to assess the change posture of each of your key people are and lead them accordingly. In any community, people will behave in one of three ways: “pioneers,” “belongers,” and “resisters.”

Introduce change exclusively with your pioneers. In time, as the belongers hear about the successes you are experiencing, they will decide that it is beneficial and safe to join the ministry that you and your pioneers initiated. Have places prepared, ready for them to serve. Plan these in advance. Eventually, more and more belongers will embrace the change, until it becomes the “new normal” for your congregation.

All the while, another amazing transformation is taking place. As you continue serving the unchurched, from a place of humility and unconditional love, their gratitude will be accompanied by openness. When they ask about your motivations and your relationship with God, then you answer.

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” [1 Peter 3:15]

–Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at www.KirlinCoaching.com/

#leadership #courage #courageousleadership #leadershipcourage #Jesus #pastor #discipleship

Raise the Visibility of your Pioneers

Pastor, as you and your pioneers love and care for the unchurched in ways that bless their lives, those you serve will be skeptical, initially. They’ll be wary that church people would actually serve without a hidden agenda, a “gotcha,” a hook.

As you continue to be with them for their benefit, and not for yours, their skepticism will be replaced with gratitude.

When those you serve express their appreciation, communicate this broadly through the congregation. Your belongers will be listening!

Raise the visibility of your pioneers. Make them your congregation’s “heroes” and make a big deal of their willingness to risk, innovate, and lead change especially when a new attempt fails. Celebrate that too.

–Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at www.KirlinCoaching.com/

#leadership #courage #courageousleadership #leadershipcourage #Jesus #pastor #discipleship

Gather Your Pioneers

The most effective ministry leaders I know spend most of their time with their congregation’s pioneers. Pastor, ask your pioneers about their passions for the things God has laid on your heart. Listen for alignment between your vision and theirs, your heart and theirs, your passions and theirs. This area of overlap is where you and they get to play!

Pray with them. Dream with them. If your hope is to touch the unchurched, envision the kinds of impact you’d most want to have on the lives of those you serve you’ll serve. Imagine yourselves serving authentically, regularly, and generously for their benefit.

Do some planning and strategizing, but please don’t get a brain cramp trying to figure it all out in advance. Excessively planning for ministry is an almost irresistible temptation for church people. Don’t waste your vigor over-planning in the comfort of your church conference room.

Quick, before you lose your nerve, get out of the church and begin to bless people. Thrust yourself into action with your pioneers. Get off the property. Meet with civic leaders. Learn where your congregation can help, where you can make a God-honoring difference, and go after it. Love people. Serve them.

For Heaven’s sake, experiment. Incubate.

Pilot. Test. Adjust.

Go-again, fearlessly and flexibly.

When what you try doesn’t work—do something else.

Do anything else.

Let these be rich times of learning and of enjoying the adventure together.

–Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at www.KirlinCoaching.com/

 

#leadership #courage #courageousleadership #leadershipcourage #Jesus #pastor #discipleship

Once You’ve Identified Your “Pioneers”

Pastor, proactively schedule your office appointments with your “pioneers:” those who are most responsive to your leadership. Invest generously in their lives.

Take risks together.

Experiment.

Face the challenges that arise together. The disruptions of Covid provide an ideal context for innovation and experimentation.

Support your pioneers as they grow in their willingness to trust God and as their character rapidly grows to mirror that of Christ. You’ll enjoy your life and ministry a lot more, and greater Kingdom fruit will be born, as well.

Nine months from now, you could be leaping into your work week with a vigor, optimism, and enthusiasm that most of your folks have never seen in you.

–Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at www.KirlinCoaching.com/

 

#leadership #courage #courageousleadership #leadershipcourage #Jesus #pastor #discipleship

Pioneers, Belongers, & Resisters

I’ve suggested that people have trained themselves, over their lifetimes, as to how they respond to change. The pastor’s job is to assess the individual change posture of each of your key people and lead them accordingly. In any community, you’ll find that people will posture themselves in one of three ways: “pioneers,” “belongers,” and “resisters.”

Jesus’ method was to make invitations, then watch to see how people chose to respond: pioneer, belonger, or resister. Like Jesus, effective leaders will lead their pioneers a certain way, their belongers another way, and their resisters a third way.

Here’s one application:

Pastor, live with your pioneers! Make sure they populate your appointment calendar. Every week, ensure that you spend most of your time with pioneers.

Work to clear your calendar of resisters, and to fill it with pioneers. It may take three months or more to wean yourself away from the passion-extinguishing complaints and tantrums of the unmotivated.

Do it.

Begin now.

–Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at www.KirlinCoaching.com/

 

#leadership #courage #courageousleadership #leadershipcourage #Jesus #pastor #discipleship

Leading Your People Appropriately

I’ve suggested that people have trained themselves, over their lifetimes, as to how they respond to change. Pastor, your job is to assess individual change posture of each of your key people are and lead them accordingly. In any community, you’ll find that people will posture themselves in one of three ways. We’ve looked at “pioneers” and “belongers.” Now, we’re examining the behavior and motivations of those I call “resisters.”

Resisters and pioneers interpret life in mutually exclusive ways. When a pioneer is confronted with an opportunity, as soon as she sees the possibility of improvement, her default is: “Why not?” The resister will intuit the possibility of failure or loss and think: “Why take an imprudent risk?” The belonger will be hesitant, moving only when the group concludes it will be safe.

The culture that’s been established in your congregation will determine how predominant each group is. Sadly, churches are one of the few places in American society where resisters often congregate en masse. I suppose government is the other.

Contrary to almost everything you’ve ever read about leadership, I want to assert, that a great leader is not one who somehow inspires belongers to become pioneers, or resisters to transform into belongers.

No.

A great leader is one who leads her or his people appropriately.

–Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at www.KirlinCoaching.com/

 

#leadership #courage #courageousleadership #leadershipcourage #Jesus #pastor #discipleship

Resisters

I’ve suggested that people have trained themselves, over their lifetimes, as to how they respond to change. As a pastor, your job is to assess where each of your key people are and lead them through change based on their individual change posture. In any community, you’ll find that people will posture themselves in one of three ways. We’ve looked at “pioneers” and “belongers.”

Now, to the third group. I call them “resisters.” These are the people whose primary orientation in life is pain avoidance. They’ve trained themselves to steer clear of the possibility of loss, whenever they can. It’s important to your “resisters” that they avoid being wrong. For them, it is essential not to fail. Thus, resisters are unlikely to implement any change that can be avoided or delayed.

They too, are God’s gift to you! They are steady. They are loyal. They’re likely to show up whenever the doors are open. Traditionalists, they engage in church life in much the same way people have for fifty years or more. They still tithe.

–Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at www.KirlinCoaching.com/

 

#leadership #courage #courageousleadership #leadershipcourage #Jesus #pastor #discipleship

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