Peter Drucker On Leadership

There is a great article “Peter Drucker On Leadership” discussing the leadership principles of the late Peter Drucker, some of his ideas from the article that stood out to me are below:

  • What Needs to Be Done: “Successful leaders don’t start out asking, ‘What do I want to do?’ They ask, ‘What needs to be done?’ Then they ask, ‘Of those things that would make a difference, which are right for me?’ They don’t tackle things they aren’t good at…..”
  • Check Your Performance: “Effective leaders check their performance. They write down, ‘What do I hope to achieve if I take on this assignment?’ They put away their goals for six months and then come back and check their performance against goals. This way, they find out what they do well and what they do poorly. They also find out whether they picked the truly important things to do. I’ve seen a great many people who are exceedingly good at execution, but exceedingly poor at picking the important things….”
  • Mission Driven: “Leaders communicate in the sense that people around them know what they are trying to do. They are purpose driven–yes, mission driven. They know how to establish a mission. And another thing, they know how to say no. The pressure on leaders to do 984 different things is unbearable, so the effective ones learn how to say no and stick with it…”
  • Creative Abandonment: “A critical question for leaders is, ‘When do you stop pouring resources into things that have achieved their purpose?’ The most dangerous traps for a leader are those near-successes where everybody says that if you just give it another big push it will go over the top. One tries it once. One tries it twice. One tries it a third time. But, by then it should be obvious this will be very hard to do. So, I always advise my friend Rick Warren, ‘Don’t tell me what you’re doing, Rick. Tell me what you stopped doing.’”
  • How Organizations Fall Down: “Make sure the people with whom you work understand your priorities. Where organizations fall down is when they have to guess at what the boss is working at, and they invariably guess wrong. So the CEO needs to say, ‘This is what I am focusing on.’ Then the CEO needs to ask of his associates, ‘What are you focusing on?’ Ask your associates, ‘You put this on top of your priority list–why?’ The reason may be the right one, but it may also be that this associate of yours is a salesman who persuades you that his priorities are correct when they are not. So, make sure that you understand your associates’ priorities and make sure that after you have that conversation, you sit down and drop them a two-page note–’This is what I think we discussed. This is what I think we decided. This is what I think you committed yourself to within what time frame.’ Finally, ask them, ‘What do you expect from me as you seek to achieve your goals?’”

As always Peter Drucker provides some great insights into leadership effectiveness.

7 Thoughts on Transformational Leadership – Aiming to Create A Synergy of Energy

“Managers are people who do things right, while leaders are people who do the right thing (transforming others).” Warren Bennis, On Becoming a Leader

Charles Handy, in his book, The Age of Paradox, states that lifecycle curves (of organizations started by baby-boomers) are free-falling everywhere, so that this moment in time is characterized by the transitioning of a very significant period in our history. He says that this difficult period is marked by fear, confusion, and faltering new steps as we attempt new life curves. (This is a good reason to consider the wisdom of a bailout for the big-3 automakers and the plethora of financial institutions in the US and around the world. New and transforming leadership is needed for this moment in history.)

Transformational leadership is a style where one or more persons engage with others in such a way that leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation and integrity. James MacGregor Burns (1978) first introduced the concepts of transformational leadership in his treatment of political leadership, but this term is now used in organizational psychology as well. Transformational leaders offer a purpose that transcends short-term goals and focuses on higher order intrinsic needs.

Consider the seven principles listed below and evaluate yourself by responding honestly to the statements made. A good understanding of our strengths and weaknesses will help us to become more effective transformational leaders.

1. Clarity – Successful leadership begins with a compelling vision, which reflects the shared purpose. The ability to articulate a clear, practical, transformational vision which answers the question, “How will we accomplish our mission?” Illustrations teach this idea – the stonecutters’ tale: The first stonecutter says, “I’m cutting stone,” the second says, “I’m carving a cornerstone,” but the third says, “I’m building a cathedral.” The third has vision. For any team, dialoguing about vision, goals, and objectives unifies the members.

Self-Assessment: Transformational leaders are able to articulate a clear, practical, and transformational vision.

I clearly articulate a clear, concise, and compelling vision to others:

X ———————————————————X

2. Motivation – The ability to gain the agreement and commitment of other people to the vision. Once the transformational leader is able to bring synergy to the organization s/he must then use various means to energize (motivate) the core. General ways to motivate others is to challenge them, provide ample opportunity to join the creative process, and give them the credit.

Self-Assessment: Transformational leaders are highly effective at gaining the agreement and commitment of other people.

I am able to gain the agreement and commitment of others to my vision:

X ———————————————————X

3. Facilitation – The ability to effectively facilitate the learning of individuals, teams, and other reliable resources. Peter Senge in The Fifth Discipline says the primary job of leadership is to facilitate the learning’s of others. The organizational quest to learn becomes the leaders greatest asset to address organizational challenges. Transformational leaders have been given a sacred trust of being stewards of their core’s intellectual capital.

Self-Assessment: The ability to effectively facilitate the learning of individuals, teams, and other reliable and reputable resources.

I am facilitating the learning of others:

X ———————————————————X

4. Innovation: The ability to boldly initiate thoughtful change when needed. An effective and efficient organization requires participants to anticipate change and not fear it. Leaders must initiate and respond quickly to change. Team members successfully influence one another to assimilate change because the transformational leaders have built trust and fostered teamwork.

Self-Assessment: The ability to boldly initiate thoughtful change to fulfill the vision.

I am able to initiate thoughtful change effectively:

X ———————————————————X

5. Mobilization – The ability to recruit, train, deploy, monitor, and nurture (RTDMN) others to fulfill the vision. Transformational leaders look for willing participants who have already been given formal leadership responsibilities and also among people who have not. They desire leadership at all levels, so they find ways to invite and ignite leadership all levels. They introduce simple baby steps to enlist larger participants.

Self-Assessment: The ability to enlist, equip and empower others to fulfill the vision.

I am creating a critical mass of leadership around the stated vision:


6. Preparation – To become a life-long learner. Transformational leaders realize that the transformation they pursue in is a reflection of their own quest for learning — that they must serve the world through their giftedness because that is the only way they truly fulfill their life life mission. With this mindset, moments of being stuck become moments of total dependence (on God). This is such a rigorous path of learning that transformational leaders must be in thriving relationships with others pursuing transformation. It is within these vital relationships, life opportunities, and obstacles that leaders gain the perspective and authority to lead effectively. “To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it – but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.” (Quoted in Visionary Leadership, by Nanus, p.43.)

Self-Assessment: The ability to never stop learning about themselves with and without the help of others.

I am learning new skills and improving myself:


7. Principle of Determination – The ability to finish the race. A leader’s mission is sometime difficult and our journey often lonely. Leaders depend on stamina, endurance, courage, and strength to finish each day. Because our focus is not only on raising our own leadership but the development of others, the most rigorous and humbling of all human endeavors, transformational leaders experience times of self doubt, grief, and fatigue. Transformational leaders have to develop spiritual, emotional, and physical disciplines to sustain a high level of commitment to the cause.

Self-Assessment: The ability to finish the race.
I am completely sold-out to my life mission:


Core Concepts of Leadership

I have found there is no such thing as hard and fast rules when it comes to leadership. Leadership is an art form as much as it is science. Every organization, circumstance, and leadership opportunity may call for a distinctive course of action. Some would describe this as situational leadership.

What are the core concepts of leadership? My current thinking is listed below. I have even attempted to place them in an order of importance.

1. Emotional Health. Emotional health is concerned with such things as: naming, recognizing, and managing our own feelings; identifying with and having active compassion for others; initiating and maintaining close and meaningful relationships; breaking free from self-destructive patterns; being aware of how our past impacts our present; developing the capacity to express our thoughts and feelings clearly, both verbally and nonverbally; respecting and loving others without having to change them; asking for what we need, want, or prefer clearly, directly, and respectfully; accurately self-assessing our strengths, limits, and weaknesses and freely sharing them with others; learning the capacity to resolve inevitable conflict maturely, and negotiate solutions that consider the perspectives of others; distinguishing and appropriately expressing our sexuality and sensuality; and grieving well. Effective leaders, first and foremost, model the capacities listed above and then they develop a learning system within their organization to assist members in measuring and growing in emotional health. (In a Christian organization, this would be an essential component of the discipleship process. In my opinion this critical piece of discipleship has been severely over-looked in the Church.)

2. Life-Long Learning. With the meteoric advance of technology there is an accompanying realization that formal learning, typically concentrated in the earlier stages of life, can no longer sustain an individual or organization throughout their lifecycle. Peter Senge, in his book The Fifth Discipline, describes this concept as developing a learning community. Senge defines a learning community as one that is continually expanding its capacity to create its future. Other definitions include:

  • An organization that achieves its goals by providing an environment conducive to the continuous learning and development of individuals, teams, and the organization.
  • An organization in which people at all levels individually and collectively are continually increasing their capacity to produce the results they really care about.
  • An organization that when a mistake is made notices the mistake, fixes it, figures out what caused the problem and corrects the root cause.

3. Developmental Empowerment. This concept is related, or we might say, the outcome of the previous two concepts. Developmental empowerment encourages and supports the importance of human responsibility in both the development and the interactive nature of growth. Developmental empowerment encourages growth in stages, looks for and quantifies evidences that accompany transformations from stage to stage, and understands the process as being lifelong, with milestones representing fundamental change. Committed to holism, developmental empowerment sees all aspects of life influencing and interacting with each other. This is a distinct shift for most organizations (including the church).

4. Calculated Delegation. Delegation is both a word and a skill that we have all heard of, yet few understand well. Effective delegation can be a dynamic tool for motivating and training team members to realize their full potential. Artful delegation underpins a style of management that allows staff members to use and develop their gifts, callings, and passion to full potential. Delegation is primarily about entrusting our authority to others, granting authority equal to responsibility.

5. Strategic Mapping. Members of an organization are more able to adapt to changes if there is a generated map of intent laid out (a map is generally more flexible than a plan). Mapping is crucial in effective leadership because it provides the organization with a direction and quantitative means to achieve its goals. Effective leaders initiate the mapping process and exert effort in communicating those plans as clearly (and redundantly) as possible.

These five principles: emotional health, life-long leadership, developmental empowerment, calculated delegation, and strategic mapping are all important in improving leadership skills. But these are not enough. The success of leadership will ultimately depend on the way we recognize our organization’s needs and how we can adapt our leadership style to those needs. In the same way that we would evaluate our team’s performance, also regularly evaluate and reflect on our own. Only you can tell what appropriate leadership is for your situation.

44 Lessons On Church Leadership From Lyle Schaller: A Compilation (4 of 4)

You might ask, “Who is Lyle Schaller?” Quite simply, he may be America’s best church strategist in the last 30 (or so) years. He has a demonstrated genius for practical solutions to a myriad of organizational issues and problems. Schaller, a Methodist, has over 140 titles listed on My assumption is that he is mostly retired now. What follows are the final of 44 lessons for church leaders…

35. The least happy staff arrangements “tend to be those that include two or more first-born staff members or an only-born senior ministry and an only-born associate….The happiest staff combinations tend to be those that include a middle-born senior minister and a middle-born associate minister….The most relaxed and the least competitive staff teams include a last-born senior pastors and a last-born associate minister….The most effective ministerial teams tend to be composed of a middle-born senior minister and a first-born associate.” The Multiple Staff and the Larger Church, p. 102.

36. “The larger the congregation, the more important it is to build a staff that complements and reinforces the priorities of the senior minister.” The Multiple Staff and the Larger Church, p. 81.

37. “In the smaller congregations the role of the patriarch, or tribal chief, usually is filled by an older lay person. The minister is the visit medicine man. Tribal identity is in the laity, not in the pastor. By contrast, in congregations with a multiple staff, and especially the huge and mini-denomination size churches, the role of the tribal chief is filled by the senior ministry. Frequently the corporate identity of the very large church is in the personality of the senior ministry who has served that congregation for a decade or longer.” The Multiple Staff and the Larger Church, p. 41.

38. “The larger the congregation, the more vulnerable that church is to an inappropriate match of pastor and people.” The Multiple Staff and the Larger Church, p. 25.

39. “The larger the congregation, the greater the expectations that institution placed on the senior minister to be the initiating leader.” The Multiple Staff and the Larger Church, p. 19.

40. “The ability to understand, accept and enjoy the ambiguity may be one of the most important characteristics of the happy and effective pastor of the middle-sized congregation.” The Middle-Sized Church, p. 17.

41. “In the best of…churches…leaders have created, sometimes over a period of several generations, a rich tapestry of symbols, parables, folk sayings, favorite expressions, beliefs, legends, stories, rituals, customs, and festivals which reinforce the feeling that indeed this is a unique congregation. By contrast, the weak churches are swathed in layers of gray cloth—ready for their funeral. The congregational culture gives meaning to life for many of the members.” The Middle-Sized Church, p. 30

42. The greatest measurable difference that distinguishes congregations is whether they are accumulating capital or living off the accumulated capital. The Middle-Sized Church, p. 33.

43. “Don’t Be The First Associate! Be The Third!” Survival Tactics in the Church, Chapter 6, pp. 166ff.

44. “Very few chapters in an effective pastorate extend beyond three or four years.” Survival Tactics in the Church, p. 29.

44 Lessons On Church Leadership From Lyle Schaller: A Compilation (3 of 4)

23. The best place to begin when re-defining a congregation’s role relative to the community is, “Who are the people who are largely overlooked or ignored y the other churches in this community whom God is calling us to reach with the good news?” Activating The Passive Church, p. 95.

24. New members are perceived as threats by existing long-term members; perceived as irresponsible; tend to be disproportionately represented in large numbers in ministries; are “assimilated by works”; are less tied to the past; generally more creative and enthusiastic about the congregation and its projects; are often the best evangelists; most aware of the needs the church’s ministry meets; tend to be the best source of leaders for new small face-to-face groups; should be most disproportionately represented on the pastoral support committee since they are most supportive of the pastor. Activating The Passive Church, p. 130

25. “In general, every pastor should view that group of new members as (a) persons with spiritual and personal needs that must be identified, surfaced, and met, (b) creative allies in combating passivity, and (c) potential members of a support group for the minister.” Activating The Passive Church, p. 130.

26. “Since the first year of a new pastorate is the critical period in combating passivity in a congregation….the evidence strongly suggests that in the majority of cases the newly arrived ministry should accept a more active leadership role…..The most common exception is the severely divided congregation [or the sudden termination of the predecessor].” Activating The Passive Church, pp. 132-134.

27. An intentional strategy for the first year of ministry in a passive congregation emphasizes 1) discipleship intentionality; 2) that leaders, including the pastor, lead, 3) the initial months of ministry set expectations of what members can expect over the tenure of the pastor; 4) the pastor is not one who has brought a program with him and will implement it (by himself) for the passive congregation; and 5) that the pastor’s role is to cause things to happen not “doing it.” Activating The Passive Church, pp. 135-136.

28. The results of pastors who successfully concentrate on the weakness of a congregation include: 1) congregational admiration of the members for the pastor’s work; 2) blaming the predecessor for congregational short-comings; 3) increased congregational flattery for the pastor given in direct proportion to the increased congregational passivity; 4) increased aging and alienation of leaders; 5) burnt-out pastors who, each year, must exceed the previous year’s accomplishments; 6) increasing members’ conviction that getting the “right minister” is the secret to building a strong church; and 7) placing a heavy burden on the next minister who will be expected to top that act. Activating The Passive Church, pp. 137-138.

29. “The best strategy for the new ministry facing a passive congregation is to identify, affirm, and build on the complementary strengths of both the pastor and the congregation.” Activating The Passive Church, p. 139.

30. “The longer the median tenure of the members, (a) the more difficult it is for a recently arrived minister to win the allegiance of the members, (b) the easier it is to launch a movement to seek the pastor’s resignation, (c) the higher the level of financial support by the members, especially in emergencies, (d) the greater the probability that the membership roster includes the names of several alienated and angry older ex-leaders who are dissatisfied with today’s state of affairs, (e) the stronger the resistance to change, (f) the less likely that the congregation will be able to reach, attract and assimilate new members, (g) the stronger the attachment to that meeting place; and (h) the more likely the congregation will display several of the characteristics of passivity….” Activating The Passive Church, p. 28.

31. “One of the most effective means of undermining the trust level within a congregation, of lowering morale, of increasing passivity, and of creating disharmony is to create a situation that causes members to believe they cannot trust the financial accountability system of that parish….Once something has happened to create this distrust, the best response is full disclosure.” Activating The Passive Church, p. 111.

32. First-born children tend to be conscientious, task-oriented, persisted, serious, high achievers and are drawn to senior pastorates in statistically disproportionately large numbers. Middle-born children tend to be more person-centered, relaxed, and diplomatic. Last-borns tend to be relaxed, casual in dress and appearance, light-hearted, able to concentrate on those , which concern them, willing to accept a sub-ordinate position, and often express great interest in change. The Multiple Staff and the Larger Church, p. 101.

33. “The clearer the expectation [for ministry staff] of this distinction between ‘doing it’ and ‘causing it to happen,’ the better the quality of staff morale and relationships.” The Multiple Staff and the Larger Church, p. 101.

34. A key difference between senior pastors and associate pastors is that, among other things, an associate pastor must often be burdened with the sense that he must be perceived as “good enough” to get promoted to the senior pastorate. The weight of tenure, the impact of titles and rank, age, varying degrees of experience, lay expectations, the origins of the associate pastor position in that congregation all play a major role in shaping the associate pastor position. The Multiple Staff and the Larger Church, pp. 126ff.

Why I Am Voting for Barack Obama

I am interrupting my 4-fold post on 44 lessons of church leadership to write about why I have chosen to vote for Barack Obama…

The foundational reason that I am voting for Obama is leadership style. While it is true that we are taking a chance on Obama’s leadership capacity, I see the primary difference between our two choices as a warrior narrative vs. a community narrative. From my perspective McCain is representative of a warrior narrative that includes the perspective of leadership that essentially seeks to fulfill the notion that what is good for America should be imposed on the rest of the world. A few years ago I wrote a paper investigating the reasons why America is increasingly hated around the world – even after the initial outpouring of worldwide sympathy following the 9/11 attacks. My research concluded that there are four primary and overlapping reasons.

1. Our practice of double standards
2. Our practice of economic unilateralism
3. Our practice of military unilateralism
4. Our practice of an egocentric viewpoint

The Practice of Double Standards
America is perceived by much of the rest of the world to practice double standards in three primary areas:

  • As the most powerful nation in the world and one that often invokes the moral high road. The actions of our military and the exports of our popular culture oftentimes are viewed to be exceedingly hypocritical.
  • American support for Israel, even in the face of harsh treatment of the Palestinians.
  • Washington’s support of authoritarian or corrupt regimes over the years when they could serve America’s interests.

The Practice of Economic Unilateralism
The interlocking trends of globalization, neoliberalism, capitalist legitimacy, and overproduction provide the context for understanding our unilateralist thrust. The policies of the Clinton administration put primary emphasis on the expansion of the world economy as the basis of the prosperity of the global capitalist class. For instance, in the mid-1990s, a strong dollar policy meant to stimulate the recovery of the Japanese and German economies was pushed, so they could serve as markets for US goods and services. However, the current administration has employed a weak dollar policy to regain competitiveness at the expense of the other economies. The weak dollar policy is meant to revive the US economy and primarily push the interests of the US corporate elite instead of that of the global capitalist class under conditions of a global downturn. This practice has failed miserably for the majority of working class Americans, not to mention the affects around the world.

The Practice of Military Unilateralism
War, as opposed to diplomacy and sanctions, has once again been placed on the international agenda. The current administration has declared that there will be a series of military actions against terrorism, of which the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are only the first. Moreover, the US withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) arms control treaty raises the possibility of a new arms race centering on ballistic missiles and anti-missile systems. These trends indicate that America is committed to military unilateralism — when it serves our interests. The all too frequent preference for militaristic solutions without a resolution of approval from the United Nations and with minimal consultation and the cooperation of other nations has created a reservoir of resentment and is regarded around the world as blatant imperialism.

The Practice of an Egocentric Viewpoint
America’s idealized view of the future of humanity permits a sometimes perverse, dangerous, and often brutally destructive disconnection between ends and means. To define the idea of America as the global future preference is viewed as an egocentric and arrogant denial of the freedom and sovereign choices of other nations. We have seemingly been hypnotized by a quest for the acquisition of globally marketed goods and competition and we seem fearful of not getting ahead fast enough. We have been perceived as acting like elitist and self-absorbed children, believing that our way is the best way to make progress — even though global poverty and environmental degradation grow worse rather than better.

In my view McCain’s warrior narrative would continue to push the double standards, economic and military unilateralism, and egocentric viewpoint that has driven us into the current economic and cultural crises. My own personal opinion is that McCain is angry and reactive and while that may be permissible as a senator, it could have disastrous effects as the President. Finally, McCain’s choice of Palin was downright scary to me. While she has personal charisma and the potential to be a force in Republican politics in the years ahead, she seems wholly unprepared to be a heartbeat away from the presidency – especially one in his early seventies on inauguration day.

Obama’s community narrative seems to me to be the more appropriate choice. It is a different kind of leadership for the new era in which we live. What is a “community narrative”? My use of the term suggests that Obama is more willing to engage the rest of the world as representing one of many nations that seek the highest good for our increasingly global village. Obama has also demonstrated a proclivity to seek the input of the best and the brightest to help shape the future of America. And I like his wife, Michelle. She seems down to earth and my perception is that she will keep him grounded. She also has the intellectual capacity (and background) to engage a host of issues in a complimentary way.

As an active, intentional follower of Christ – what about the sacred issues that have driven the evangelical agenda? My basic view is that the western Church has fallen under (basically) the same spell as our (western) cultural and political tendencies – we, the (western) Church, have also practiced double standards, unilateralism, and the practice of an egocentric viewpoint. I believe that over the last several decades (if not centuries) that leadership and evangelism in the (western) Church has been more about talking (and reacting) than listening (and responding). We are entering into a (postmodern) season where leadership and evangelism will be much more about listening than talking. There is a huge difference between discussion and dialogue (think about it).

Finally, I am firmly pro-life. I also believe that we – as a nation and as a Church have never really talked about the underlying issue. Women don’t trust men to tell them what to do with their bodies. In a normative backlash to millennia of male domination and abject sexism, women are asserting themselves. Women want, and deserve, to be wholeheartedly regarded as equal to men. That means equal pay for equal work and equal opportunities – both in society and in the Church. As this relates to the Church, each one will need to engage Scripture with fresh eyes and a humble, repentant attitude. Wherever our well thought and prayerful theologies lead us, we can certainly admit that women have been unfairly treated and disrespected since the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden. Repentance, honor, authenticity, dialogue, and action will save more lives than our previous attempts to legislate morality. The message of Jesus is radical — and subversive. It captures one heart at a time. Jesus, and the writers of the New Testament, prayed for, lived for, and ministered to the hearts and longings of lost and broken people. If the Church can recover the pastoral heart of servant-influence (leadership), we can make great headway in the plethora of causes that fill our hearts – no matter who the next President of the United States is.

44 Lessons On Church Leadership From Lyle Schaller: A Compilation (2 of 4)

12. Guilt can be induced in congregations by “unlimited tenure systems;” urging people to accept job they do not enjoy and do not want; motivating contributions, attendance and service by Law rather than Gospel; articulating vague goals, i.e. without stating who is responsible and the projected timetable for attainment of the goal; and using the phrase, “We ought to do more….” Effective Church Planning, pp. 150-1.

13. The fruits of motivating by pushing the ‘guilt’ button are deep and lasting hostility. Efforts to implement a legalistic approach to motivation appear to produce divisive and destructive conflict. By contrast, efforts to motivate people through an emphasis on a neighbor-centered, loving [Gospel-oriented] approach produces healthy fruits. Effective Church Planning, p. 160.

14. “As pastors move away from the old pattern of trying to live up to some idealized model of ministry…and begin to identify, affirm, and build on their own strengths, they tend to develop a leadership style that not only is compatible with a potentialities-based planning model, but they also begin to develop an aptitude for identifying, affirming, and building on the strengths and potentialities of individual members of the congregation.” Effective Church Planning, p. 170.

15. Numerical growth in small churches happens 1) rarely; 2) reluctantly; 3) only by accepting significant changes; 4) when several members committing themselves to an ‘adopt-a-member’ strategy; 5) when smaller churches find themselves surrounded by a flood of newcomers…who ‘take over’ control of the church and change the style of congregational life; 6) by attracting a disproportionately large number of that three percent of the church population who move into a community and immediately become hard, faithful, and self-starting workers in the church; 7) by committing themselves to a serious study of the Bible with an emphasis on evangelism and discipleship; 8) when the church implements a multi-year ministry growth program which requires that the pastor’s tenure last at least five or six years to finish completely. Growing Plans, pp. 16-17.

16. “The greater the lay control in any size congregation, the less likely it is that the congregation will begin and maintain significant numerical growth.” Growing Plans, p. 18.

17. “I have found no evident to suggest that the commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is any less among the members of the small-membership churches than it is among the members of rapidly growing churches. They may be some difference in how members of different churches express their Christian commitment, but that is a different subject from the depth of commitment.” Growing Plans, p. 21.

18. “From the days of the New Testament churches to today, orthodox Christianity has experienced great difficulty in reaching and including in worshiping congregations people who have no hope for tomorrow.” It’s a Different World, p. 39.

19. “Professionals in the church tend to think in terms of functional categories, while the laity often conceptualize reality in terms of relationships.” Activating The Passive Church, p. 20.

20. When a congregation’s governing body drifts into a permission-withholding stance when new ideas, ministries and programs are proposed, this tends to inhibit the creativity of the members, halt the flow of creative ideas, and encourage passivity. Activating The Passive Church, p. 48.

21. “Looking backward and second-guessing the past…tends to be one of the most fertile sources of passivity.” Activating The Passive Church, p. 49.

22. “Polity and size are the two most influential factors in shaping the role of the pastor and the relationship between the minister and the lay leaders.” Activating The Passive Church, p. 32.

44 Lessons On Church Leadership From Lyle Schaller: A Compilation (1 of 4)

I was recently going through my book reviews and found this gem from Lyle Schaller…

1. “If the discussion about the budget can be shifted from money to ministry, from economy to effectiveness, and from means to purpose, there may be no ceiling on what Christians will do to fulfill their calling.” Parish Planning, p. 46

2. Members of self-renewing congregations who operate from a balanced sense of purpose 1) know who they are and where they are going; 2) are able to assimilate members by a deliberate, conscious and intentional effort; 3) are more sensitive and responsive to the contemporary needs of people 4) are less interest in continuing traditions, customs and old organizational structures; 5) they know and believe in what their church is doing; 6) expect to overcome crises, no matter how large; 7) have redundant communication–no secrets, and few disruptive surprises; 8) encourage discussion of differences; 9) are not overly dependent on any one leader; and 10) recognize that their church is merely one of many expressions of Christ’s church. Parish Planning, pp. 73-75.

3. “The probability of failure in an organization (system) decreases exponentially as redundancy factors [in communication] are increased.” Parish Planning, p. 225.

4. “Innovation is basically the adding of something new, rather than the reform or replacement of an existing element…. The effective innovator, therefore, emphasizes that what he is proposing is change by addition, not change by alteration, or change by subtraction.” Parish Planning, p. 86

5. “The effective innovator is the person who is willing to share the credit generously for successes, and to carry gracefully by himself the blame for the failures.” Parish Planning, p. 87.

6. “[Do not] mistake politeness for agreement. People have a natural tendency to avoid disagreement or unpleasantness and nowhere is this more prevalent than in the local church.” Parish Planning, p. 121.

7. “The greater the sense of mutual trust, the fewer the limitations on what a congregation can do. The greater the toleration of diversity, the larger the opportunities for ministry and for personal growth through study and response in service.” Parish Planning, p. 156.

8. “Everyone naturally turns to look to the past for guidance. This is normal and natural, since a person knows the past with greater certainty than he knows the future.” Parish Planning, p. 170.

9. “You really can’t begin to understand the gospel until you are called on to tell others about Jesus Christ.” Parish Planning, p. 188

10. The higher the level of conflict, the greater the likelihood that one or both parties will resort to legalism and/or litigation. The Change Agent.

11. “In most congregations the internal reward system recognizes and expresses appreciation for the work of lay volunteers with adults, with youth, and with the administrative apparatus of the church. Persons who work with children, however, usually have very low visibility, tend to be overlooked, and are more likely to be awarded dead rats…rather than silver beavers.” Effective Church Planning, p. 130.

How Vision is Achieved – Pt 2 of 3 (or 4)

• Again, “leaders in every generation have been distinguished as those with ability to see in the mind’s eye what others cannot yet imagine.” The question, then, is how is their imagination quickened? It all starts with spending quality time with Jesus. To do this one must develop eyes to see what Jesus is already doing in the midst of a congregation. Give prayerful thought to the following questions:

o Who has he assembled in this place and what gifts are predominate?
o How are these gifts currently being expressed?
o Who is already being blessed?
o What is Jesus doing in the lives of those in the (surrounding geographical) community that he is preparing to be part of this congregation?
o What changes in the surrounding community past, present, or future impacts the opportunities for ministry?
o In other words, what is the Lord of the Church already doing to extend his reign over the lives of persons in this congregation and in the community?
o Then the question is, how do we join Him?

• As leaders develop the eyes to see Jesus in the “fields white for harvest,” and mobilize people and resources to reap the harvest he has prepared, the vision for ministry will be clearly visible and the congregation will be contagious with it.

• Methods, strategies, and ministries follow vision. Innovative ways of doing ministry are needed to realize Christ’s vision for a particular congregation. Each congregation has a unique opportunity to contribute to the completion of the making of disciples of panta ta ethne. This is because the opportunities before each congregation are unique to where God has positioned them, at a particular time, with the resources to bear fruit for the Kingdom.

• “Can vision be induced?” “Are there tools, concepts, and practices that can be trusted to help leaders weave the threads of their dreams into the tapestry of tomorrow’s reality? Are there rational tools, with a logic that can be followed?”

• Vision can, indeed, be induced. The Apostle Paul spent a great deal of his time persuading (inducing) a vision for the completion of the Great Commission. His vision was simply Jesus – to know him and the power of his resurrection realized on earth. Paul’s primary strategy was to incarnate himself and those who followed Jesus within every culture, society, and network of persons through which the gospel could be communicated most effectively. Becoming all things to all people that by all means he might win some.

• Vision for the ministry of any particular congregation is seeing how their ministry can most effectively be incarnated. Leaders contend for this and persuade others to pay the price.

• However, there can be a pattern of insidious trends that capture a congregation over time that need to be identified and repented of. Until this ground is covered, few will pay the price of change necessary to incarnate their ministry. These trends hold the congregation captive to the old paradigm. New forms, tools, concepts and practices are not usually accepted by a rational process or persuaded by logic. The emotional attachment to the old and fear of loss overrides the rational process. The old paradigm for ministry must be revealed as inadequate to exploit the new opportunities to expand the Kingdom. Israel had to give up the paradigm of a “temple cult” captured by legalism and the traditions men. Jesus fulfilled all that was good in the old paradigm and replaced it with a new paradigm of bring the Kingdom to earth, which included persons from all peoples. Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount gave the new forms, tools, concepts and practices of the Kingdom. He contrasted the old paradigm with the new.

• The old forms, tools, concepts and practices of westernized Christendom are woven into a tapestry of yesterday’s reality. This tends to blind church leaders to the present reality. This is why a Kingdom intervention is often necessary. Tomorrow’s reality will be woven from what the church sees Jesus doing in the present reality and from what it learns from joining with him as he is incarnated in the new opportunities for making disciples of all peoples. Just as Peter saw God do a new thing with Cornelius and his household, and through the Apostle Paul’s ministry among the Gentiles, the church must see new forms, tools, concepts and practices that allow the incarnation of its ministry within those “fields white for harvest” where Jesus stands and calls us to join Him.

How Vision is Achieved – Pt 1 of 3 (or 4)

A couple of things…I stopped blogging a while back and I’ve started back up again. I didn’t have the foresight to save my earlier posts, so I’m really starting over.

I’ve recently done some fresh thinking on the issue of attaining vision. This will be a 3-4 part post. I should mention that I am grateful for the thinking, writing, and friendship of Dr. Bob Brady – a long-time mentor of mine.

Here’s my equation for the work that needs to be done: Values + Mission = Vision

Values = Abstract qualities that we prize.

= What we are here to do and our unique approach to the enterprise we are in.

A mission statement is text that states the chief activity that the organization wishes to engage in and gives specific guidance on the direction the organization should take in regard to programs, services, and activities. Additionally, the law obligates the trustees/board of the organization to limit their activities to those covered by the mission statement.

Vision = A description of the reality you expect to create; it is the discovery of God’s will for a congregation.

We don’t DECIDE on a vision, we DISCOVER vision through commingling core explicit values with the organizational mission.

Preliminary Thoughts How Vision is Achieved:

• From more sophisticated uses of the imaginative capabilities of our minds to our inner ears seeking to be more attuned to the voice of the Holy Spirit — the path to vision will be discovered. How we have learned to think about ministry in times past will require, of some, extensive relearning in order to cope with the kinds of discontinuity forecast for the future.

• Leaders in every generation have been distinguished as those with ability to see in the mind’s eye what others cannot yet imagine. Can vision be induced? Are there tools, concepts, and practices that can be trusted to help leaders weave the threads of their dreams into the tapestry of tomorrow’s reality? Are these rational tools, with a logic that can be followed? Or, must we wait in a desert without foresight until a burning bush signals a new order? “The future ain’t what it used to be,” and that’s the good news. Much of tomorrow is waiting for someone to invent it.

Some Noteworthy Quotes:
• “Every institution is perfectly positioned to obtain the results it is currently achieving.”

• Leadership: the process of aligning a church to God’s mission and vision.

• The gospel is primarily something to be embodied and proclaimed, rather than a set of beliefs that people assent to intellectually.

Further Thoughts
• The underlying presupposition is that Jesus Christ is the chief shepherd and vision caster, and that he has a definitive future for every congregation that he is working out. The task of church leaders is to join with him as co-laborers in the realization of his kingdom at a particular place and time with the resources and opportunities he provides.

• If this is true, then it follows that one of the main hindrances to the realization of Christ’s kingdom through a particular congregation is failure to let Christ be the head of his body in that place. This can take several forms:

o Unqualified leaders who are incapable of providing examples of Christlikeness and authentic discipleship.

o Structure/Systems that work against community building and one-another relationships.

o Misuse of resources both financial and the spiritual gifts of the Body.

o Protection of the vested interests of members overshadows the needs of the lost.
o Unresolved conflict that poisons the fellowship.

o Failure to mobilize the power of prayer in seeking God’s will.

• Now, assuming all the above are addressed and corrected as needed, how is a vision discovered by biblical leaders who are following Jesus Christ and desire as first priority the realization of His kingdom through their congregation?