Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pest Control - Part 2

More "musings" from Tony Morgan's Killing Cockroaches:

For communicators: Great speaking comes from the overflow of preparation. Before you can move others, you first must be moved. Many of us cheat on our preparation time and justify it by tending to all the small emergencies around us that make us feel significant. Talent can only take you so far. Preparation is what separates a good speaker from the truly great ones. (David Foster, pastor of The Gathering in Franklin, Tenn.)

Regarding leadership:
  • Leaders can't be recruited from the platform (or stage). The challenge must be one-on-one, and requires personal invitation. (p. 45)
  • Leaders don't want to be micromanaged
  • Leaders won't commit to ambiguity. You must present a clear vision. And it better be big. (p. 46)
  • John Maxwell said, "It's only the secure leaders who are willing to give power to others."
Other stuff:
  • Will the church bulletin ever go away? Do people read them anymore? (p. 47)
  • Vision attracts talent and financial resources. People will give their time and money to a big vision. Do you have a God-sized vision? Is it big enough that it involves lots of prayer and a move of God to see success? (p. 49)
  • From Don Rizzo, lead pastor at Healing Place Church in Baton Rouge, La. - "Whatever your area of responsibility, do not hold onto it so tightly that no one can help you do it, or even for you, so you can move on to something else. (p. 52)
  • Sir Francis Bacon: "If we are to achieve results never before accomplished, we must expect to employ methods never before attempted." (p. 57)
  • Who you have on your team really matters. If you don't have the right people on your team, you're not going to have success in what you do. Really. (p. 67)
  • (When considering someone for a position) You need to go on lots of "dates" with this person, and you need to give yourself freedom to "date" other people. Just like a marriage relationship, it's more likely to last because of the intangibles you discover over time rather than the details you might find on someone's resume on the first date. It's better to leave a position vacant than to fill it with somebody who's really not the best fit but just happens to be the best available (p. 68-70)
More to come...stay tuned!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Pest Control - Part 1

I just finished reading Tony Morgan's book entitled Killing Cockroaches...and Other Scattered Musings on Leadership. I underlined and highlighted about half the things in the book. Tony is one of the most sought-after "experts" on church leadership in the country today. And, after reading this little ditty, I can see why.

Over the next couple weeks, I plan to post several insights from Morgan's book that struck a nerve with me. These are not my insights, unfortunately...but I am smart enough to read them and share them!

I hope you will get something out of them.
  • Success, whether in the marketplace or in ministry, breeds contempt. People say we're not "deep" enough. We don't offer this program or that program. We don't use the right music. It's amazing the grief you get when your sole purpose is simply to point people to Jesus. (p. 10-11)
  • We learned a long time ago that to try to make everyone happy, you have to be comfortable with mediocrity. (p. 11)
  • The more we become passionate about something, and move towards becoming an expert on that topic, we begin to develop our own lexicon with specialized words. And, when it's pilots talking to pilots, that's OK. When it's snowboarders talking to snowboarders, that's OK. When it's musicians talking to other musicians, that's OK. But when it's pastors or other Christ-followers talking to people who are normal folks just beginning to check out the claims of Christ, that's not OK. When we speak our foreign Christian language, normal people don't understand. (p. 20)
  • 80 percent of first-time church visitors come because they are personally invited (this was discovered by CedarCreek Church in Ohio, and is likely reflective of most modern churches) (p. 23)
  • Many companies and churches suffer from a condition called "complexity creep." Complexity creep is a situation when companies keep plugging in new things but never unplug old things, resulting in confusion with customers and employees. (p. 28)
  • One of the best ways to combat complexity creep is to develop a not-to-do list for your ministry. (p. 28)
  • It's important to remember your competition. If you are a church, your competition isn't other churches. Instead, it's everything that's competing for someone's time and attention. It needs to be something "new and different. When something is the same, it doesn't make headlines. (p. 37)
  • A few things to consider when creating buzz: (1) Figure out who you are trying to reach, (2) If you're different, some people won't like it, and (3) Different doesn't have to be big., and (4) Being different involves risk. (p. 38-39)
More to come in the days ahead!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Mirage and Masquerade

Lately, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about something John Ortberg calls “Perception Management.” In a nutshell, it’s the behavior we engage in that helps to shape the way we want to be viewed by others. It’s the little white lies, the half-truths, the pretenses under which we operate. It’s agreeing with others we don’t even like because we desperately seek affirmation and approval. It’s wearing clothes we think look silly so we can be accepted into a group with whom we likely have very little in common.

These behaviors fall into two primary categories: mirage or masquerade.

Mirages are intriguing. Essentially, a mirage is an “optical phenomenon in which light is refracted through a layer of hot air close to the ground, giving the appearance of there being refuge in the distance (” In layman’s terms, it’s an optical illusion that makes something appear that isn’t really there. Does that sound vaguely familiar?

I encounter mirages all the time. Not just ones on the road, but also ones in interpersonal relationships. Unlike the ones we can see when it’s hot outside, relational mirages can lead to very real danger. People talk about what’s important to them, what really matters, how they want to make a difference, how they will get their priorities straight. And, you could swear they mean it. But, in the end, most people are creating an illusion. They simply want to be thought more highly of, and there’s no substance there. And, just like the mirage vanishes before your very eyes as you get closer, you’ll encounter similar results with people who are all about smoke and mirrors.

If you don’t see a mirage, perhaps you are at the masquerade. A basic definition of masquerade is “the concealment of something by a false or unreal show.” The difference between a mirage and masquerade is this: with a mirage, nothing is really there. At a masquerade, something IS there, but it is hidden by a mask. It’s when I believe something in my heart, but put up a front to keep you from knowing too much about who I really am. It’s the beautiful person God created me to be who is too afraid to come to the surface. It’s the small talk I make to avoid meaningful dialogue. It’s appearing tougher than I really am, or that I have it all together. It’s that craving for acceptance that leads me to do that thing in a group setting that I would never do all alone. It’s putting a Bible on my end table, so that you’ll think I love God, even though I haven’t opened my Bible in years.

Whether it’s a mirage or a masquerade, you can be certain that one thing is missing: honesty. People aren’t honest with themselves, and they aren’t honest with others. And, if I cannot be honest with myself, how can I possible be honest with others? Exactly.

In his book, Everybody’s Normal Till You Get to Know Them, John Ortberg writes that, like an item for sale in an outlet mall, we all come with an “as-is” tag. We are all flawed. And, like that “slightly irregular” shirt you bought at the store, the flaw may not be apparent initially. But, rest assured that it will be discovered sooner or later.

So, if we are all flawed, let’s all just admit it and get over ourselves. Be brutally honest with yourself. Stop playing “make believe” and be authentic. It’s much less exhausting, and will free you up to become the “wonderfully made” being God created!