7 Things Healthy Teams Refuse to Allow

By | Church, Leadership, Life Plan, Organizational Leadership, Team Leadership | 28 Comments

After a recent staff meeting, I was thinking about what makes our team at Grace Community Church healthy. I’ve written about healthy teams before HERE and HERE among other posts. I think healthy teams are intentionally created, so I’m consistently trying to make our environment better. My current thoughts have led me to believe that in our case, it’s as much about what we don’t have on our team as what we do have.

I think our team works well together because we get along well with each other. (Most of the time.) It may have to do with what we check at the door when we spend time together.

Here are 7 things healthy teams check at the door:

Read More

10 Disciplines I’d Recommend Everyone Start in Their Twenties

By | Encouragement, Leadership, Life Plan | 6 Comments

This is one of those posts I hope someone learns something, which can help them in life.

I hope that for all of my posts – otherwise why am I writing, but, I see this one as a life-giving post for those who will read it and take some of it to heart.

My specific target is those who are in their 20’s, who are starting out in their adult life and career. As I’m writing, I’m thinking of my own two sons in that demographic (although one of them is about to hit the 30 mark), the young people who have worked on our teams, and hundreds of college students and young adults in our churches. Those who come to mind are driving my desire to invest something in those who will read this.

I’m 54, which is certainly not old – although it may have seemed like it was when I was younger, but it is old enough to have learned a few things. Like things I wish I had done when I was younger. And, some things I’m glad I did.

I have learned the only way to really sustain something in your life is through self-discipline. No one is going to force you to do some of the most important things you need to do.

If I were in my 20’s again, there are some disciplines I would make sure I incorporated into my life. I would practice them enough that they would be natural for me today.

Here are 10 disciplines I would recommend everyone start in their 20’s:

Saving. It’s easier to start setting aside money before you start spending it. Setting a budget and living by it makes so much sense to me now. I didn’t in my twenties. I wanted all the disposable income I could make. But, I didn’t spend it wisely and now I have to make up for lost time saving for my future.

Exercising. I exercise everyday. Now in my 50’s I recognize more than ever my need for regular physical activity, but some days the body doesn’t want to do it. Without it being intrinsic to who I am I’m not sure I would start now. I wish I had developed a better habit of this in my twenties.

Journaling. I have journaled off and on throughout my life. It is so much fun to read my thoughts from 30 years ago and reflect on how much I’ve learned and things God has done in my life. Still, there are periods missing where for years I didn’t journal. Knowing the value of this now I wish this had been more disciplined then.

Friending. Those deep, lasting friendships often start early – and they take work. At this stage in life, friendships have deeper meaning and importance to me. I need people who can speak into my life who know me well. I have those, but not necessarily among people I knew in my 20’s — who have a long history with me. I look on Facebook at friends from high school and college and I wish I had worked harder to keep those friendship strong. I miss them. At the time, I thought they would last forever. They didn’t. They are still “friends”, but not at the level they once were. I’d make sure I surrounded myself with the right friends — and those may or may not be the people from your 20’s, but I’d build healthy, long-lasting friendships.

Identifying. Specifically here I’m referring to learning who you are – who God designed you to be – and then living out of that truth throughout your life. This is the discipline of faith. Figuring out what you believe about the eternal and why you believe it and then putting faith into practice is vitally important. It will be challenged so many times. The author of Ecclesiastes writes, “Remember your creator in the days of your youth before the days of trouble come.” Such wise advise. Knowing what you believe – nailing it down without reservation – will help you weather the storms of life which surely come to all of us. As a believer, knowing God’s approval of you will help you believe in yourself and your abilities and empower you to take the God-sized risks you may look back and regret if you don’t. This discipline also helps you develop the discipline of prayer so you can seek wisdom from God. When you fully recognize the value of being “in the family of God” you are more likely to cry out regularly to “Abba Father”.

Giving. Just as saving is an easier discipline if you begin early so is giving. Whether it’s time or money I now realize the value there is to me in helping others. I have practiced this one throughout my adult life and it is one of the most rewarding parts of my life. I highly recommend starting this discipline early before the world and all its demands takes the ability from you.

Resting. Those in their 20’s now seem better at this one than my generation was but for those who need it – start resting now. Work hard. It is a Biblical command and a good virtue. The older you get, and the more responsibility that comes upon you, the harder it is to find the time to rest. It needs to be a discipline.

Life-planning. Creating a discipline of stopping periodically to ask yourself huge questions will keep you heading in a direction you eventually want to land. Questions such as: Am I accomplishing all I want to do? If, not, why not? Where should I be investing my time? What do I need to stop doing or start doing to get where I want to go? In what areas of my life do I need to improve?

These can be life-altering questions. Ideally, we should ask them every year, but at least every few years this is a healthy discipline to build into your life – and the sooner the better.

Honoring. This discipline is honoring the past – learning from those who have gained wisdom through experience. When you’re young you can be guilty of thinking you know more than you really know. It’s not until you get to a certain age – I’m there now – where you realize how much you don’t know. There is always something to be learned from another person’s experience you don’t have. This one seemed to come to me naturally, because I grew up most of my early life without a father in the home. I craved wisdom, especially from older men. But, I cannot imagine where I would be in life had I not developed the life-long discipline of wisdom-seeking early in my life.

Coaching. Pouring into others is a great discipline and should begin early in life. In my 20’s I didn’t realize I had something to give others from what I had already learned. Imagine the impact of a 20-something person investing in a middle or high school student – maybe someone without both parents in the home. It wasn’t until I recruited one of my mentors in my mid-20’s and he said, “I’ll invest in you if you invest in others” that I began this discipline. I wish I had started even earlier.

It’s probably not too late for most who will read this to start most of these. Most of them, however, become more challenging the older you get.

Someone will wonder how I chose the order of these or if some are more important than others. There may even be push back because I started with one about money. I get that and it’s fair. Obviously, one on this list is MOST important. In my opinion, it would be “Identifying”. All else is an overflow of that one. But, had I started with it then the natural question is which one is number two, and number three, etc. Whichever one would have ended up number ten could seem less important. I think all of them are important, so I didn’t prioritize them.

Any you would add to my list?

Discerning the Season of Your Life

By | Church, Family, Leadership, Life Plan | 4 Comments

As I write this, we are supposedly in spring on the calendar, but today is a cold day. There is actually snow in the forecast this week. A couple weeks ago we had several inches of snow on the ground.

Like the saying goes in my part of the world, “If you don’t like the weather now, stick around, it will change.”

Seasons. They come and they go. Sometimes quickly.

Life is like that.

Life happens in seasons.

Ecclesiastes says there’s a time for everything. Everything has a season.

Good seasons. Bad seasons.

Productive seasons. Growth seasons. And, seasons of decline.

Seasons of mourning. Grief. Seasons of laughter. Jubilee.

Seasons where there are more obstacles than opportunities. Often followed by seasons where we can’t seem to find time for all the opportunities presented to us.

There are seasons of stretching, where God seems to shape something new in our hearts. And, we often don’t know what that new is until we enter yet another season.

Seasons of passionate, growing love. And, tough seasons, where love is tested.

Seasons you’re more the leader and seasons where you’re more being led.

Seasons of blessings. And, seasons of wondering where are all those blessings others seem to be experiencing.

There are seasons of discovery and seasons where we get to invest what we have discovered in others – all while we keep discovering something new.

As parents, we have lots of seasons. The seasons where we never seem to have a break and you can’t get everything done and the kids are driving you crazy some days and you just need one good night’s rest. And, then seasons where the house seems empty and you long for a cluttered floor of toys again.

Seasons. Life happens in seasons.

What’s your current season?

It’s important to understand seasons occur and to know what season in which you are currently living.

When we don’t understand this concept of seasons – especially in the bad seasons – we can begin to believe seasons never change. We may stop trusting. Stop dreaming. Stop taking risks.

But, life comes in seasons. Seasons do change. Sometimes quickly. And, sometimes seasons overlap each other.

When we find ourselves in a good season, especially an extended good season, we can start to take the season for granted. We may even forget seasons change. Sometimes quickly. And, so we aren’t prepared.

Take a minute and reflect: What season of life you are currently experiencing?

Review your life by how the seasons have molded you. God never wastes a season. Ask God to place in your heart what He wants you to learn during this specific season of your life. Invite God to speak into your seasons.

Life happens in seasons.

7 Small Changes Which Produce Huge Results

By | Church, Encouragement, Innovation, Leadership, Life Plan | 6 Comments

Sometimes the smallest changes reap the biggest results.

Over the years I’ve come to realize I’ve often done things the wrong way. I’ve tried to make huge changes in my life only to quickly fail. I didn’t keep going. I stopped. Overwhelmed. I tried to change too much too soon. It didn’t work.

What I have learned is that when small changes are repeated over time not only are they easier to implement, but they tend to stick longer. I’ve made some good habits in my life simply by starting with small changes.

Here are 7 small changes, which produce huge results:

Read one chapter of a book each day.

This is gold. Most people would like to read more, but they never seem to find time – or make time. Leaders are readers, right? Establishing a discipline of one chapter per day will get you averaging a couple dozen books a year. This would be an improvement for most of us. And, it usually only takes about 15 minutes per day.

Two glasses of water each morning.

This may sound small, and that’s kind of the point of all of these, but this has proved to be huge for me. I started this several years ago. It’s a great way to wake up in the morning. Apparently we wake up needing hydration. I squeeze a fourth to half of a lemon in mine. I’ve been told it works wonders on our body. I can’t swear to that, but it does improve the flavor. (My doctor actually said it’s the best way to limit kidney stones.) I wake up craving my water now. It wakes me up more than coffee — and I still love coffee.

Exercise as a part of your daily routine.

You don’t have to run a marathon to maintain health. Just being active when you can will do wonders. Park further from the building. Park on the opposite end of the mall from where you’re going. Take the stairs if possible. Walk while you talk on the phone. I take frequent “mind” breaks and walk around our office or my neighborhood. I’ve even asked people to “walk” with me as we meet about something. I find myself interacting more with our staff because I’m all over the building during the day.

Spend 5 to 10 minutes in prayer and reflection each morning.

You may wish you could pray for an hour or dissect the book of Romans like the spiritual giants you know. (I’ve learned they aren’t always as “mature” as we think they are. Knowledge does not equal maturity — obedience does.) But, what can you do? When I began a daily discipline of investing in my spiritual growth it was like I put fertilizer on my soul. It’s amazing what God can do with a seed of interest invested in knowing Him.

Take 5 minutes to plan the day.

At the beginning of each day, before you begin your first task, spend some time prioritizing how you will do the work. You’ll be so much more effective in your day if you’re working from a plan.

I also do this at the beginning of a week, month and year.

Routine your week.

Of course, there are no routine weeks. Life happens and it doesn’t happen routinely. I have found, however, when I have some idea of what my week should look like I am more likely to see some semblance of a routine.

For example, I know Mondays and Tuesdays are going to be meeting days. I plan my schedule around it. If someone asks to meet with me I try to steer them towards Monday and Tuesday. This frees up Wednesday as my primary day to write and prepare for Sunday. I keep Thursday fairly open for meetings but more for last minute meetings – depending on how my Wednesday preparation goes. I can push to Monday or Tuesday if needed. Friday I use for a catch-up day. I’m continually re-evaluating my routine, but having one helps me to have a more productive week. I’m certainly more prepared for the things, which happen to interrupt my routine, because I attempt one.

Make a list.

Feeling overwhelmed? Make a list. I realize the pushback against living by lists. I get it. You can become so scheduled life is no fun. But, when you learn to manage your lists effectively, it can give you more freedom than you have now. You can even put “fun” on your list.

When you have a list you can choose to tackle the hard ones or the easiest ones first. I typically go for the easiest, because it does something powerful to your mind and momentum when you get to check something off your list. You want more.

With several of these I now do far more than what’s listed, but this is where it started. For example, everyone seems to know we need to drink more water, and my small change has made me crave water even more. It actually keeps me more alert during the day, which is been a huge benefit to my productivity.

Another example: I also exercise — a lot — but it started with a small mindset change of being active throughout the day. My body naturally desires activity, because I’ve planted that into me through a small change.

Small changes repeated over time = Huge results.

What Was My Greatest Success in Life?

By | Church, Encouragement, Leadership, Life Plan | 2 Comments

I was interviewed a few years ago for a leadership podcast. One of the questions took me by surprise. I have been interviewed for podcasts many times, so answers usually come fairly easily.

They didn’t this time. At least to this question.

The question:

What has been your greatest success in life and what did you learn from it?

Greatest success?

I should have probably had an answer ready, but I don’t think I have ever kept a mental record of successes. I tend to think in terms of what I can do better, what I need to know, or how we did on the last whatever we just did.

I didn’t have an easy answer.

The first answer, which came to mind:

Apart from knowing Christ and being known by Him, my greatest success has been failure.”

Then I took my interviewer by surprise, until I went on to explain.

I began to tell him I felt successful in my ability to have a failure and then get back up and try again.

I feel most successful when I keep going in spite of the obstacles around me.

Having had plenty of time to think about my answer I’m sticking with it.

The truth is I have had lots of failure. I’ve been on the bottom several times and, by God’s grace and through commitment and perseverance, I always climbed back.

I have failed in so many different areas of my life too – in professional and personal life.

And, here’s what I’ve observed:

I’ve gained my greatest lessons from life through the hardest times of my life.

And, something tells me I’m not finished learning.

I’m not sharing this to boast about anything in my life. In fact, if failure has taught me anything it has taught me humility.

I share it to encourage you. You may feel discouraged today. Maybe you are a pastor and you’ll read this on a Monday. You may have just about lost all hope. You may feel a complete failure – like the best of life is past for you.

I am here to tell you it’s not! You can stand strong again. By God’s grace – and through commitment and perseverance – you can climb the mountain again.

By the way – this is almost always the story of people who experience success. You often only see them when they’re standing, but you didn’t see the times they fell. 

Your greatest success in life may be your ability to endure through the hard times – even through failure – get up and move forward again. 

10 Difficult Lessons Experience Taught Me

By | Christians, Life Plan | No Comments

Some of life’s greatest lessons come packaged in a hard personal experience.

I’ve learned a few things in life, but truly, the greatest things I know came through mistakes, failures and disappointments.

Here are 10 hard to learn life lessons:

  • A “lesson in humility” teaches far more than an “ego boost”.
  • Often, in my experience, what I don’t want to do is the very thing I need to do the most.
  • The best friends sometimes say the hardest things to hear.
  • Sometimes it’s not until you give up the right to control that a breakthrough comes.
  • People are more honest with you if they can predict your reaction.
  • We hurt most the ones we love the most.
  • Very few people can really comply with “don’t tell anyone”.
  • You never get a second chance at a first impression.
  • God’s way is better than my own.
  • Rebuilding trust is more difficult than keeping established trust.

12 Challenges for the New Year To Make Your Life Better

By | Change, Christians, Encouragement, Family, Life Plan | No Comments

The verdict appears mixed among the people I know of whether of not they make resolutions for a new year. And, I understand, many have tried before – it didn’t work – and so now they are like “why bother?”.

I believe there are probably some principles in place as to whether or not a resolution succeeds. For example, is it reasonable? Is it measurable? Is it sustainable? Do you have accountability in place? But, I wonder if the term itself is a problem for some people. RESOLUTION. I hereby resolve! Sounds kind of formal, almost intimidating, doesn’t it? I hate to say I’m resolving to do something where chances are good I won’t.

I do believe strongly, however, we should work towards continual improvement in our life, whether this begins at the first of the year or in the middle doesn’t matter as much. But, the new year does provide a nice, clear place to start.

So, I want to offer a spin on the old resolution tradition and offer a new word.

Challenge.

How does that word resonate? Do you ever challenge yourself to do better? It’s easier than saying I resolve to do this. You’re not saying you will – you may not even be able to – it will be a challenge, but you’re willing to give it a try.

Let me give you some examples, some which may be challenges for you want to consider. I can almost guarantee if you meet just a few of these challenges your world will be better. You won’t need to meet all of them, just the ones most “challenging” to you. But, you’ll have to trust me in this – meeting them or even improving upon them – will brighten your life.

Here are 12 challenges for the new year:

Quit trying to be someone else

God made you to be you and He didn’t make a mistake. The more you live the you He intended the more you’ll enjoy the benefits and blessing. There’s something you can offer this world no one else can. Comparison only leads to disappointment.

Quit trying to carry all your burdens

And, the challenge here for you may be to quit trying to carry everyone else’s burden. God designed you (and me) to be insufficient without Him and to have a relational need for others. Sometimes the best thing you can do is admit you can do it anymore – and ask for help. In your weakness He is strong, but you’ll have to admit your weakness before He usually allows His strength to kick into full gear.

Start embracing today

You can keep hoping your life improves – that this would happen or that would happen. The Apostle Paul said he had learned “the secret of being content”. I’ve personally defined contentment in my life as “being satisfied with where God has allowed me to be in life – right now.” When you begin to find contentment TODAY becomes a great day – in spite of the challenges it holds. Perhaps your greatest challenge in the new year will be embracing where God has you now and waiting more patiently for what He will bring in the fullness of time.

Let the past go

As much as we can learn from history, we shouldn’t be bound by it. One of my favorite verses is Ecclesiastes 11:3, “Wherever the tree falls, there it lies.”. So simple, yet so profound! It speaks volumes to me. If the tree fell there it lays. You can’t do anything about it now. It’s done. Finished. On the ground. All you can control now is your response to the tree which fell. If grief is holding you back by all means grieve. Its healthy to mourn a loss. (Get help if needed.) But, at some point you will need to move forward. If it’s regret then reconcile the loss. If it’s guilt, or disappointment, or anger – whatever “it” is from your past deal with it now. Admit the tree fell. It hurt. It stinks. You probably wish it hadn’t happened, but, I challenge you to move forward in the new year.

Accept God’s grace

It’s always more than we deserve. You can’t earn it. It’s amazing grace. But, denying or refusing it ignores the beauty of it. Is the guilt of your past keeping you from enjoying all the blessings of being a child of God? Has there never been a time you received the gift of salvation? Have you been living more like a prodigal in exile than a child of the King? If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. If the Son has set you free you are free indeed! I challenge you to embrace grace in the new year.

Live free of grudges and bitterness

The lack of forgiveness is a hidden destroyer of joy, peace and happiness. Someone reading this is holding on to a grudge, some bitterness, maybe anger – and it’s keeping you from fully enjoying life. Every time you hear a person’s name or see them you are reminded of the injury they caused. And, it’s hurting you more than it is them. Chances are they’ve moved on and you’re still struggling. Isn’t it time to let it go? (Let it go could be a “Frozen” song you need to sing to yourself.)

Remember other people exist

Don’t be selfish or always command your way. People, even the best people, will never perform to all of your standards. Honestly, is it even fair to expect it of them? They may not even agree with you as to what is important. You cannot hold people to unrealistic expectations and not be disappointed often.

And, here’s a note to those of us disappointed with the things of this world. As followers of Christ, we can’t expect that everyone sees the world as we do. Of course, there are biblical principles through which we view the world and live, but can we really expect people who aren’t believers to embrace them?

Admit mistakes readily

Sincere humility is an attractive quality and it helps to free you from future regrets or guilt. We all can have “perfectionist” tendencies, yet none of us is perfect. If you want to live with less self-induced stress this year, admit you don’t have all the answers and sometimes you have none.

Give generously

Giving opens the heart to joy and contentment. Something happens when we give to others which causes us, though we have less, to feel like we have more. And, there are many needs around us. I challenge you to give more in the new year and see how it makes your life better!

Protect your heart

“Above all else” the Bible says. Where your heart is there your treasure will be also. Most likely there are activities, or people, or places where your heart is most easily injured. You may not be able to avoid them, but you can be aware so you can “guard your heart”. And, when you are aware you may be injured you will build guardrails to lessen the damage.

Take a new risk

The adrenaline of attempting something you’ve never done before fuels you for future success. It could be something you’ve always wanted to try or something you know God wants you to do, but, for whatever reason, you’ve resisted. Especially if it’s God-honoring, not sinful, will make your life or other’s life better, then what are you waiting for? Don’t let fear or thoughts of your inadequacies be your chief motivators in the new year. I challenge you – GO FOR IT!

Think and act eternally

There is more to this life than the world we know today. Thankfully, I might add. Jesus said to “store up treasures in heaven”. Whenever possible, I challenge you to consider the eternal consequences of the decisions, investments, and actions of your life. Jesus said to live in this world, but not be of this world. How are you making a difference in the world to come by your world today? The more intentional you are the more treasures you build for a future reward.

Which of these challenges are you willing to accept?

(I posted this in a similar form a few years ago.)

3 Steps to Setting Achievable Goals

By | Encouragement, Innovation, Leadership, Life Plan | No Comments

Many people tell me they don’t make resolutions, because they don’t work. They can’t seem to keep them. And, apparently it’s true. Every year I see the same reports telling us how many people don’t keep the resolutions they make. No encouragement there.

So, in the past I have shared some broad resolutions which are more life directions than actual resolutions. HERE is an example. HERE is another. And, ONE MORE.

I know this, however, seldom do we hit a target we haven’t yet identified or located. So, if you want to improve in certain areas of your life, you need some new direction to get you there. You’ll have to make some changes in what you are currently doing.

Call them goals if you want. That seems to be a more popular word these days, but decide a few areas in which you want to see improvement, then put some goals in place to help you get there. Making positive lifestyle changes isn’t easy, but it really does start with that simple of a process.

To help you get started, let me share some thoughts on setting goals you can actually reach.

3 guidelines I use for choosing achievable goals:

Quantifiable

Make sure you can make the goal measurable. Don’t say you want to lose weight. Decide how many pounds you want to lose. Don’t say you want to read more. Say you want to read one book a month – something like that. You want to read your Bible more? Then set a goal to read one chapter per day. Not “save more money”, but save $50 per pay period, etc. Put an actual number to the goal you can track to see your progress towards it.

Reasonable

Set a goal you can actually attain. Otherwise you’ll give up easily. If saving $50 per pay period is completely unreasonable, then decide the reasonable number. It probably should be some stretch to make it worth celebrating later (which is a key component in goal setting), but make sure you can do it. Losing 10 pounds per week is going to be tough – perhaps even unhealthy, but two pounds per week might be a goal anyone can do with a little discipline.

Motivated

Pick goals you are passionate enough about to put the energy and discipline in it to achieve success. Do you REALLY want to lose weight? Do you TRULY want to do better with your finances? Is reading your Bible ABSOLUTELY a goal worth pursuing? Your degree of motivation will likely determine how committed to achieving the goal you remain.

If you think through setting quantifiable, reasonable and motivated goals, and then you consistently practice them for a month, or two, or better yet three – you’ll be we’ll on your way to successfully completing them. And, the satisfaction from that will be worth celebrating. And, please celebrate. It’ll keep you wanting more progress towards your goals.

If you are really serious about this process and want more, read THIS POST on writing a Life Plan.

4 Thoughts On Finding a Mentor

By | Church, Family, Leadership, Life Plan | No Comments

I have had many mentors who have invested deeply in my life. I am who I am partly because of the intentionality of others pouring into my life. They have made me a better leader, better husband, father, friend, and person.

One of my more recent mentors was a godly businessman who agreed to meet with me periodically. He didnt even think he had anything to offer me, but as I observed his life and ways I knew he did. He was twenty plus years older than me, had been extremely successful, and his leadership skills were off the charts. So, of course, I could learn from him. And, I did.

One of the more frequent questions I receive is how do I find this kind of mentor?

Well, I think they are all around, but if you want to find a mentor, you’ll have to be intentional.

Here are a few things to consider:

Observe people – Who are people already in your life? You go to church with them? You see them in business or social circles? They are in a civic club you attend? They work out at your gym? Most likely you have potential mentors around you if you are consciously looking for them.

A word to my pastor friends. I do not believe every mentor in your life has to be another pastor. We may be thinking too highly of our profession if we cant learn leadership (or life) principles from those in secular positions. Obviously, we should choose mentors who have high character and integrity, but we can learn from those who are not in ministry. Some of the godliest people I know are in the business world – and Im glad they are – and I can learn from them.

Find someone with qualities you aspire to have. Think of an area where you feel you need to grow and look for people who seem to have excelled in those areas. In my experience, they will often share with you times of difficulty in getting to where they are today. Youll learn from their challenges.

I once recruited a mentor simply because he was one of the most humble people I had ever met. It was a quality I admired and wanted to emulate in my life. I knew I could become proud if I’m not careful and I had observed him to be both successful and humble. And, thats what I told him in our initial lunch meeting together. I wanted to hang out with him because I had observed him to be both. Simple. Honest. And, it proved to be effective. This man and I no longer live in the same city and yet he continues to check on me periodically and every time he encourages me.

Ask them to meet with you. I usually find a hesitation in people in making the first ask, but equally true has been how receptive people seem to be willing to meet with me when I do. This obviously needs to be reasonable. I probably shouldnt expect Bill Hybels to mentor me, but there are plenty of pastors (and those who are not pastors) who have much for me to learn if I will make the ask.

If it seems to go well on the first date, ask them to meet with you periodically. It doesn’t have to be often. It could be every quarter or every six months. You’ll learn valuable life lessons from them each time you meet.

Know – in a general sense – what you want to learn from this person, but then each time you get together come with questions for the person. You do the work to prepare for meetings unless the person takes this initiative. Most mentors will not feel they know how to mentor you. And, thats okay, you can take the pressure off of them simply by having good questions, which glean from their experience in whatever area you are trying to grow.

Its okay to move on when its time. This doesnt have to be a lifetime arrangement. It could be. I have a few mentors who have been in my life for 25 years or more. I dont speak to them often, but they remain available to me and still periodically invest in my life. I also have had some mentors who were there for a season of my life. When I began to enter the world of adult parenting I had a mentor who walked through how things would be different for Cheryl and me and how I would relate to our sons. I have even been mentored through a change I was leading and my mentor and I only met one time.

I think we over-complicate the subject when we put too many parameters around what a mentoring relationship looks like. It can be a fairly simple process. Theres something you want to learn, find people who seem to have already learned it, meet with them and soak in their experiences, and then repeat often.

If you are serious about being mentored youll look for opportunities to allow people to speak into your life. Youll have many mentors. And, your life will be richer.

Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. Proverbs 15:22

Questions To Help Discern If You Are Ready to be a Leader

By | Church Revitalization, Leadership, Life Plan, Team Leadership | 14 Comments

I had a young man ask me recently, “Do you think I’m ready to be a leader?”

I said:

Great question. Glad you’re asking. But, honestly, I don’t know that I’m the one to answer your question. Actually, it might help if I ask you some questions.

Here are a few questions – to discern if you’re ready to be a leader?

Are you ready to stand alone at times?

Are you ready to push through fear?

Are you ready to do the right thing even when it’s the unpopular thing?

Are you ready to be misunderstood sometimes – actually, many times?

Are you ready to sacrifice for your team?

Are you ready to see things others may not yet be able to see?

Are you ready to enter the unknown – and are you ready to enter first?

Are you ready to keep confidences?

Are you ready to be looked at for a decision even when you have no idea what to do?

Are you ready to delegate?

Are you ready to lead change – even when it’s uncomfortable?

Are you ready to be overwhelmed at times?

Are you ready to be talked about when you leave the room – in good and bad ways?

Are you ready – and willing – to allow others to receive recognition?

Are you ready for people to befriend you simply for your position?

Are you ready to see all sides of an issue?

Are you ready to sometimes feel like the weight of a vision is on your shoulders?

Are you ready to face conflict?

Are you ready to always have your integrity closely observed by others?

Are you ready to receive criticism?

Are you ready to defend your team?

Are you ready to be a leader?