Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cool Link of the Day #2!

I found this link while surfing the web today. It has some nice resources for Christian leaders, including a free on-line assessment of your leadership style. You'll find a lot of helpful things here for leadership development.

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Cool Link of the Day!

Every once in a while I come across something that is worth sharing. This one is from Michael Hyatt, Chairman of Nelson Publishers. I hope you enjoy.

iMentor Steve Jobs
View more presentations from Coach Bay

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Where's A Good Mentor?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Leadership Conferences

Over the years I've had the opportunity to attend numerous Leadership Conferences as the result of a commitment I made a long time ago. If you're going to become a better leader, it means exposing yourself to good leaders and ideas. One of the best ways of making that happen is to attend a Leadership Conference where you can have a feast for a weekend and then snack on the leftovers for years to come.

My favorite conference is the Leadership Summit hosted by the Willow Creek Association and featuring Willow Creek pastor, Bill Hybels. As a delegate to the Summit I've had opportunity to learn from luminaries like Jack Welch, Jim Collins, Colin Powell, Erwin McManus and many others. They also feature young up-and-coming entrepeneurial leaders like Blake Mycoskie of TOMS Shoes and Chip and Dan Heath. Inspirational young leaders are also featured, like Christine Caine - fighting to end human trafficking, Bono and Jessica Jackley and the KIVA Story - working to end poverty.

There are, of course, many good conferences out there. I'm going to share some links to the most recommended conferences that I've heard about; I'd appreciate it if you'd share your favorite conference experience with the rest of us. For those of you from Clearview Community Church, I'll be attending the Canadian version of the Leadership Summit at the end of September. If you're interested in attending, let me know.

The Global Leadership Summit

The Orange Conference

The Catalyst Conference 


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Levels of Leadership

This is from John Maxwell's classic lesson called "The 5 Levels of Leadership." I first heard this lesson over twenty years ago and have used the material often myself. It's good common-sense information.

Below is a quick summary:

Level 1: The Position Level - Rights. People follow you because they have to. Many aspire to have a title, not recognizing that this is the lowest level of leadership. We've all worked for bosses who weren't good leaders. We follow them only to the extent that our job description demands. Move from this level as quickly as possible.

Level 2: The Permission Level - Relationships. People follow you because they want to. At this stage you are actually leading. People like you, so they will follow you beyond their job description. They will do what you ask not because they must, but because they want to.

Level 3: The Production Level - Results. At this level people will follow you because of what you have done for the organization. You have demonstrated that you are good at what you do and that you are able to generate results. At this level people believe in your abilities and will allow you more leeway.

Level 4: People Development - Reproduction. You reach this level with people when you've made a difference in their lives. They are willing to follow you because of what you've done for them. At this level you've demonstrated not just your ability, but that you care, and followers at this level want to be like you.

Level 5: Pinnacle - Respect. When I first heard John Maxwell teach this, he called Level 5 Personhood; those who attained this were legends. It was reserved for people who had built life-long legacies of effective leadership - people like Billy Graham. Those who have reached this level are sought after by other leaders because they have proven themselves. They represent excellence and integrity.

There are a whole series of lessons that can be taught based upon the 5 Levels of Leadership. John has recently written a book on this subject. I have not read it as yet, but  I will soon. These lessons are highly recommended for anyone in leadership, and especially for those who are developing other leaders. Below is a link to the book.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Turning Points

I was reading my friend Dewayne Hamby's blog about the impact a recent message by Andy Stanley had on him, and it got me thinking. What are the moments that I remember that had a profound impact on my life? There have been a few of them, but one immediately leapt to mind - first a little background.

I began my pastoral ministry at a very young age, and have learned many of my life-lessons the hard way - by experience. By 25 I had already pastored two churches, assisted at another and was starting out as a Youth Pastor in Jacksonville, Florida. Like many young people starting out, I believed that I had all of the answers - or at least a lot of them. I was of the opinion that the reason I didn't have more success in my ministry was a lack of opportunity, or resources, or the right people around me, or... You get the picture. My Senior Pastor in Florida signed us up for a Pastor's Conference (I believe in Birmingham, AL) featuring John Maxwell as the keynote speaker. At the time, John was already a household name in the area of leadership development.

John began to speak, and I believe I had a front-row seat. It was one of those times when it felt as though John (and God through him) was speaking directly to me. I don't remember all of the details, as this was 23-24 years ago now. But what I do remember has had a lasting impact on me.

John spoke about personal responsibility and about being honest with ourselves. One of the quotes that I remember is this: "Your problem is not the problem, you are. Face it and fix it." He was talking about pastors who spend two years at a church and then, all of a sudden, hear God "calling" them to move on. Then two years later the cycle repeats itself, and so on, and so on... He went on to say that the reason for this cycle is that most pastors enjoy a "honeymoon" period at a new church, and once three years were up, the problems they faced could no longer be blamed on their predecessor. I have to admit, this was one of those "ouch" moments for me. I thought back over my few years in ministry and realized that there was a lot of truth to what he was saying.

I made a number of commitments as a result of that conference. One of them was a commitment to develop my leadership abilities, another prominent theme of the conference. From that one commitment has followed many lessons learned that have radically changed my life and ministry. I have made it a part of my life to attend at least one leadership conference a year and read leadership material on a regular basis. Another commitment was to not run from my problems but to face them head on and with grace. This has lead to two long-term pastorates, both of which have been extremely rewarding.

It's amazing the difference that one lesson can make. I am eternally grateful to John for his influence from a distance. Thanks from the guy in the front row.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Where's A Good Mentor?

I've had a number of people express to me their need for a mentor and ask me how they go about finding one. Because I value the art of mentoring so highly, I wanted to address this. Generally, where a few are asking, many are feeling the need. Let me begin with some general principles that I've picked up over the years.

Everyone needs mentoring.
Asking for a mentor is not an admission of failure or weakness, it is an expression of a willingness to learn. Someone stated that "the self-taught man has a fool for a teacher." Each of us has room to grow and mature in various aspects of our lives. Mentors can be a great benefit to help us grow.

Mentors aren't perfect.
If you're looking for the complete package, the person who has the right answer to every question, you'll be looking for a long time. The reality is that each of us has strengths and weaknesses.

You may want more that one mentor.
Different people have different strengths. You may look to one individual to help you in a certain area of your life, say finances for example. You may choose another mentor for advice in helping you with your relationships. You also may actually outgrow a mentor. In that case, maintain the friendship but find someone else who can take you to the next level. A wise mentor will see this coming and perhaps even recommend someone else.

When you choose a mentor, reach up.
What I mean is this: the point of mentoring is to help you improve. Reach out of your circle. Aspire to a better place than you are today. Look for the best possible mentor and take a risk. Which leads to the next point.

When I was making the transition from my previous church to Clearview Community, I had to attend some orientation meetings for my new denomination. The sessions were lead by the then District Superintendent, Bill Morrow. Bill and I had crossed paths a few times. He had a background in counselling and had been a successful pastor and leader for years. One of his sessions was on mentoring. At the end of the session he said that while he heard a lot of people talking about needing a mentor, he did not see a lot of people asking. So, I asked.

That was 15 years ago, and since that time Bill moved on to be the General Superintendent of the PAOC and is now the President of Masters College and Seminary. I have met with him over the years - usually when I've been in a crisis of decision or needing advice on how to face a ministry challenge. He has always been there when needed and has often referred me to someone who could help me in a specific way... But I had to ask.

How does one find a good mentor?
Firstly, if you're a Christian, pray that God would guide you to the right individual(s). Another key is to ask the right questions. What exactly is it that you're looking for help with? Identify that need. Is it with life in general? Is it with developing your spiritual life? Is it leadership? Is it in family life?

Once you've asked the right questions, look around you for someone you admire in that particular area. Make sure that they share the values you feel are important. Do you honestly feel that they have something they could teach you and are you willing to listen?

Buy them a coffee or an ice capp and ask them. Talk about how you see this working and how often and ask them if they're interested. Don't set anything in stone until you've given enough time for both of you to determine that it's something you want to pursue. Think about what you bring to the table. Perhaps that means buying them lunch once a month or at least expressing your appreciation.

Finally, look around you for someone into whom you could pour yourself. We ought to be reaching up to those who can teach us, but also reaching down to those who are now where we were. I believe that this is true ministry. It is a picture of Biblical community that is uniquely powerful and attractive. We can teach people from a distance, but we impact them up close. Let's grow together.

Filter Bubbles - Don't Get Stuck

The 8 Nations of Innovation - Rick Warren

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Welcome to Leadership Central! I decided to launch this blog to create a place where developing leaders can find development tools and information to help with their personal growth.

As this page becomes fully functional there will be a section for leadership quotes; favorite leadership sites; the best leadership conferences; new leaders to watch out for; the best leadership resources, etc... If you navigate along the top bars you will find the permanent pages. There will also be regular blog postings on leadership which will be posted on this spot.

I would love to have your feedback. As a leader, what is it that you are looking for?