Have you ever stumbled? Of course you have; we all do. Stumbling happens in many ways. In one church where I served, a group of men enjoyed hiking together. When this venture started I was not equipped for hiking. On our first trip I wore slick tennis shoes. After a few miles on the trail I learned a valuable lesson about hiking - it pays to wear the right kind of shoes. My slick shoes would not support me on slippery leaves or other challenging places, such as walking down a steep bank. I slipped and fell so many times the other men laughingly accused me of being drunk.
A few days ago I saw a book with the title that inspired this article. I highly recommend the book by Jim Minor. When I first saw it, I was captured by the title. The words Church Shouldn’t Suck are in large bold print. However, the phrase “the Life out of you” quickly calms the shock waves created by the bold print.
“Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord–you serve the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23)
Last night, sometime along about 3 or 4 a.m., unable to sleep, I did something I rarely do: I turned on the television. Usually, I’ll read or just lie there thinking until sleep returns. But last night, I channel-surfed and ended up watching one of those true-crime re-enactments.
Law enforcement investigators had painstakingly built their case against this fellow in Jacksonville, Florida, who reported his wife missing on a trip to Miami. Facts eventually indicated he had murdered her and buried her body in an abandoned golf course near home, then driven south. His plan had been for the police to focus on south Florida rather than his hometown.
My wife and I recently obtained two horses. I love horses, but it has been years since I spent time around them. The horses we got are three-years-old and very much in the training stage. In the past the horses I owned were trained and I enjoyed the fruit of someone else’s labor. Not so this time. I am taking up the training that was begun by someone else. I am learning valuable lessons about working with people, from a horse. Consider these lessons, as you work with people.
This coming week welcomes a new year, 2015. As each New Year begins I ask myself this question: Am I going to seek anything new or watch things remain the same? It is easy to teach, preach and challenge others about the New Year, but what about me? Am I seeking something new? Am I seeking fresh inspiration? Am I seeking fresh ideas? Am I seeking fresh ways of serving God?
Pastors are continually solving problems! You know the ritual of disturbed sleep when your mind subconsciously works to solve a problem. Or, your wife recognizes that blank stare when your body is present but your mind is not. It is impossible to avoid problem solving. So the question becomes, what am I learning or how am I resolving the problems I face?
All of us are in learning mode. Each day offers a new adventure and new lessons. This past week I considered Jesus’ approach to problem solving. These lessons are not new but they certainly added to my resume as a problem solver. Also, they can reduce our stress load as we seek a more balanced approach to problem solving.
I think the best leaders expand their influence and leadership potential by continuing to learn and grow in experience. It takes an intentional effort to improve as a leader. You can read books, follow blogs and Tweets, attend conferences, and hang out with other leaders. These are all good practices to improve as a leader.
In my experience, however, my leadership influence grows the fastest when it grows through the people I’m supposed to be leading. Let me explain.
Here are five ways I expand my leadership potential: