Tag Archives: Leadership

Yes, we are running against the wind

10 Feb

In light of the recent events in our state, I had intended to write a blog post of my own for today. However, I read a great article by my friend, Dr. Mark Foley, President of the University of Mobile.  I was so moved by his words, I wanted to share them with you today. Here is Dr. Mark Foley’s article in its entirety…

The culture is sharpening it’s turn to run with the wind of same sex marriage. Alabama has officially joined the turn by action of one federal judge in Mobile.

So, where does that leave those who understand the Word of God to reserve marriage to one man/one woman exclusively for life? Answer…running against the wind.

Several thoughts…
1. As part of the Church that has failed to effectively influence the nation, I share responsibility for her condition and culture…culture soaked in sin and extensions of sin for so long that it is morphing into new iterations of behavior each farther from the standard of God than the last. People are products of those extensions and view their experience as reality. They do so naturally and with honest belief that they are created as they represent themselves to be. Those conditions present the greatest opportunity in American history for the Church to offer an alternative in an effective manner.

2. Moral rightness or wrongness is a matter of the measure one applies to an issue. If Scripture is that measure, same sex marriage is clearly wrong, but America stopped using Scripture as a measure of sexual behavior long ago. This issue is now viewed by the courts as a civil rights matter, and the measure being used is the Constitution. Like it or not, sexual identity and gender choice are now considered as one’s discovery of his or her created nature.

3. Christianity is no longer the de facto state religion in America, thus the days of Christian methodology through bully pulpits, rallies, rants, lines-in-the-dirt, and political or legal cover for the position of the Church are all but over.

4. My personal responsibility is to read, understand, comply with, live-out, and influence through the whole of Scripture, not just preferred pieces of it. That includes learning to genuinely love and care for people where they are…even if I disagree with their behavior and decisions…as the primary methodology. Admittedly, no easy task.

5. America is morally on par with ancient Corinth and Rome. The Church was planted and thrived in both. God is not surprised nor does He lack a plan for these conditions. That plan is the Church present and engaged in culture…not the social/institutional church as it has evolved to be in America, but the people Church. The story of the Church in the book of Acts is the opportunity for America.

6. Change as massive as that for which I long is not done in a near term. It must begin freshly in homes of Christ-followers teaching our children and children’s children of Jesus and his expectations and the empowerment of those expectations by the Holy Spirit.

7. Prayer has long been neglected, yet it remains the most powerful tool God has given His Church.

8. A great many established organizations calling themselves “church” will cease to exist or will become empty shells because they cannot or will not adjust to meet the expectations and opportunities of Jesus in a culture that bewilders and offends them. Those that do adjust will thrive in the favor of God and will witness transformation in their communities.

9. The formula given by God to Solomon still stands…2 Chronicles 7:14: Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.

10. Running against the wind is where God leads his Church to its best work. Psalms 32:8 – The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.

The critical issue of alignment

28 Oct

I regularly listen to several podcasts. Among my favorites is the leadership podcast by Michael Hyatt.  The former CEO of Thomas Nelson publishing and now a very successful entrepreneur, Michael Hyatt (www.michaelhyatt.com) always brings something to the table that stretches and challenges me as a leader.  Recently, I listened to his podcast on the vital importance of alignment on any team.  It was so good that I shared it with our staff team at Lakeside and wanted to share it on the blog today.

According to Michael Hyatt, there are three levels of unity that can be achieved in an organization…

  1. ACCEPTANCE – At this level of unity, people simply acquiesce to the will of the leader.  You might hear things like “This is what the boss wants to do.”
  2. AGREEMENT – This level is much healthier in the organization because here people understand your arguments and agree with your direction.  In other words, they believe you are right. Their head agrees with you.
  3. ALIGNMENT – This level is best and most healthy. Why?  Because it is only at this level that people are truly “with you.” Alignment means far more than just agreeing with you. It means you have have their heart even if they have brought a different viewpoint to the table initially.

Think of a rowing team… rowing

Alignment means that, after I have had my input and opportunity to give my perspective, I will align with the decisions of the leadership and row in the direction we are going with all of my heart.  A team without alignment can look more like this…

tugofwar

At some point along the way, every single one of us has probably been part of an organization like this one. There is constant “sideways” energy because there are competing visions & priorities.  This team will get nowhere because they spend their energy pulling against one another. The rowing team above is moving forward because they are aligned. Think about it.

Often, there is misalignment in an organization because one or more people or groups feel disenfranchised and left out of the decision making process. There is nothing more discouraging than feeling as if your voice is never heard and no one cares what you think about anything. Wait a minute. There is one thing more discouraging than that: being told your input is wanted and then knowing the decisions are already made before you give it.  Those of us who are leaders have to take great care to ensure that our team members feel a vital part of the team. It is only then that they can truly “align” and pull with all of their heart even if a decision didn’t go their way.

Over the years, I have seen misaligned marriages, families, businesses, and, yes, churches.  It will be a healthy thing to have the “alignment” conversation with your family, your management team, or the leadership team from your church. Life is too short and eternity is too long to spend our time pulling against one another.  May our families, our churches, and our businesses pull together and move forward with all of our hearts and for the glory of God.