Thursday, June 23, 2016

Uncertain times call for entrepreneurial leaders

Molly Marshall's list of entrepreneurial qualities:
  1. Welcome the nudge of the Spirit, who loves to subvert old patterns.
  2. Be receptive to the chaos that is inevitable when innovating.
  3. Learn to embrace calculated risk.
  4. Take responsibility if an experiment fails.
  5. Empower people to bring their best thinking and energy to a common goal.
  6. Search continuously for new opportunities.
  7. Steward resources wisely and trust there will be enough.
  8. Give back a sense of calm and stability in the vortex of change.
  9. Pay attention to personal resistance to change and the desire to repristinate the past.
  10. Remain hopeful in the midst of unknowing, and walk by faith.
  11. Carry a disposition of “why not?” rather than “why it won’t work.
  12. Cultivate a life of prayer, and become ever more deeply rooted in faith.
  13. Seek wise counsel. An isolated leader cannot impose vision; rather, vision arises out of thoughtful collaboration. Leadership entails being a “keeper” of the vision, however.
  14. Find or construct a supportive professional network that can offer forthright perspective.
  15. Focus on performance objectives that align with values and vision of the initiative
  16. Understand critical tasks unique to discrete positions and require accountability for their accomplishment
  17. Continue to practice discernment about strategic direction.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Overcoming your past

A good name is better than fine perfume... Ecclesiastes 7:1

A popular Fathers Day song tells of a father who left his baby boy with three gifts before he disappeared: an old guitar, an empty bottle of booze, and a girl's name, Sue. The boy grows up to be a bitter man who hunts his father down and gives him a near fatal beating.

Okay, not a Fathers Day song but it has a happy ending. The father confesses that the name was a way to make sure his son grew up tough.

Names are important and can determine your destiny. On the other hand, the Bible tells of one man who overcame a terrible name (1 Chronicles 4:9-10). Jabez' name means pain. His mother named him that, so he would never forget the pain he'd caused her.

Jabez could have become embittered but he did not let his past dictate his future. In the middle of a 600 name genealogy that fills the first 9 chapters of First Chronicles, it is noted that he “was more honorable than his brothers.”

In fact his prayer, recorded within this brief passage, ends with a plea “keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain.”

For some, the word father brings up painful memories but, like Jabez, we can turn from our dysfunctional families to our Father in Heaven. “So then, you Gentiles are not foreigners or strangers any longer; you are now citizens together with God's people and members of the family of God (Ephesians 2:19 GNT)." 

Your past does not dictate your future.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Baptist churches are more starfish than spider

Baptists are a leaderless movement. Churches gather into voluntary associations where the leader is elected or hired by a group of churches. State and national Baptist organizations operate that way as well. The churches themselves are congregationally led. The absence of a pastor does not destroy the churches ability to perform its mission.

In the their popular book, “The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations", authors Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom compare spiders and starfish.

A spider has a body, eight legs and a head. If you cut off a leg or two the spider will survive but if you cut off the head, the spider dies. On the other hand, a starfish has five legs but no head. If you cut off a starfish's leg it will grow a new one AND the leg will grow a new starfish.

The spider represents hierarchical organizations with centralized command and control. The starfish represents decentralized organizations that are led by ideals rather than rules. Leaders emerge as influencers rather than dictators. The struggle is illustrated by the AMC series “Halt and Catch Fire” in which major corporations are losing a war with undisciplined but motivated computer geniuses.

Attempts by church groups at centralized command and control often lead to the emergence of new churches, denominations and parachurch groups. The Protestant Reformation is an example of how decentralizing control of Christianity brings renewal.

The Kingdom today represents many denominations who disagree on a number of issues but agree on the gospel's call. They operate independently toward similar goals. To that number we can add a multitude of independent churches and parachurch groups.

The Baptist Temple Campus hosts four churches and ten non profits that are independently governed but work together to meet the spiritual, physical, educational and emotional needs of our community.

We share a common desire to build up the community in a way that pleases God. Each church and organization has a different mission but all share a desire to make the world better place.