As a leader you will have to criticize people from time to time. It’s rarely fun but there is a world of difference between a critical person and someone who has to speak or look at a situation in a critical manor. If you are not willing to be critical you are not ready to lead. Speaking critically is never easy no matter how easy Simon Cowall makes it look.
If you want your team to grow, if you want to reproduce other leaders you can not do it without some hard hitting honest feedback. The delicate balance that always has to be maintained is you need to speak truthfully to help those you lead grow but you have to do it in such a way that it doesn’t crush them. So how do you do this?
How do you criticize others well? 1. You have to start from a place of relationship. The deeper your relationship is with someone the broader based your critique of them can be. The more time you have invested relationally the more authority and opportunity you have to speak critically. 2. Criticism always has to be two things founded in truth and spoken in love. – If your goal isn’t to build the team or grow the person you are talking to, then keep your mouth shut. 3. Make your criticism specific. Nothing hurts worse and helps less then a general, non-specific critique. 4. How do people change when critiqued? Love how Henry Cloud describes how people grow – Truth and grace in the context of relationship over the course of time. 5. Start with yourself - Allow others to critique you. Demonstrate your willingness to allow others to speak the truth in love.
If you want to lead well you need to critique well.
Everyone is a critic. Don’t believe me? Go on-line to facebook or twitter during an awards show. Don’t believe me? Ask someone how they feel about a local restaurant, if they like your new haircut, and where you should go on vacation.
We all love to share our opinion. We love it when people ask what we think. Where we tend to have a hard time is when people share their opinion with us. Especially when that opinion is different than ours or when it is aimed at us specifically.
Everyone is a critic but no one likes to be criticized.
One of the best things we can do when others criticize you is take a look at yourself and ask what does this criticism tell me about me?Here are some of the things that I have found in my life criticism tells me about me.
1. It shows me the things in my life that I hold on to more tightly than I do Christ. – The things that matter to me more than anything else hurt far more when they are poked at by others. 2. It reminds me that I need to care what others think about me but not how often they think about me. We need to care about others but not to the point that our identity and security is informed by what they think about me. 3. It helps me find joy that is real. It frees me from the need to be loved by others. Jesus said in Luke:
Luke 6:26 26 “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.
4. Criticism allows me to a small extent identify with Christ. He was rejected by God and man for us. He was separated from his father so we never have to be. The problem with most of us is we exchange beauty and honor of partaking even in a small portion of the suffering Christ experienced on our behalf because we value comfort and the opinions of man.
1 Peter 4:12-14
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
Here are the notes for my breakout at Lifeway’s Kids Ministry Conference.
5 Things every leader has to get right
1. Delegation – We don’t delegate because we don’t trust God with the results. We don’t delegate because our default mode is to do. If I do this my pastor will be pleased with me. If I do that God will be pleased with me.
We don’t delegate because we don’t have a half-hearted view of what eternal rewards are. What ultimate beauty is. Lewis address our self focused small minded in his book weight of glory.
“We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.
“We are far too easily pleased.” C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory.
We often don’t delegate because we are building our own kingdom – we are far to concerned with who gets the credit rather than who gets the glory.
What I think is interesting about Gen. 2 when God creates Adam is
1. He gives him meaningful work
2. He gives him clear parameters for that work to take place
3. He gives him something that forces him to reflect his creator.
“God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”
2. Leading under authority – We lead under authority when we understand ultimate authority – When you come on staff at a church you have to submit yourself to the pastor you serve. This can only be done to the degree that you have submitted your life completely to Christ.
What does submission to authority look like?
- It’s walking and leading in humility
- It’s trusting Jesus more than your circumstance
- It’s not checking your dreams at the door of the church
- It’s not blindly following your pastor off a cliff
- Submission to authority starts with you submitting your life to Christ ultimately and as a result of that you walk in humility. You speak when you need to and be quite when you need to. Paul talks about our submission to Christ and uses marriage as an example for us.
22Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
25Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
The power to submit to the authorities God has placed in our life comes from our ability to fully Trust Christ above all else. – Submission to authority is not blind obedience to your pastor it manifests itself in a humility and love for the things
“But there must be a real giving up of the self. You must throw it away ”blindly” so to speak. Christ will indeed give you a real personality: but you must not go to Him for the sake of that. As long as your own personality is what you are bothering about you are not going to Him at all. The very first step is to try to forget about the self altogether. Your real, new self (which is Christ’s and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him. Does that sound strange? The same principle holds, you know, for more everyday matters. Even in social life, you will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making. Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. The principle runs through all life from top to bottom.
The principle runs through all life from top to bottom. Give up your self, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”
3. Connecting with families – We have to move from atmosphere of co-dependance to an environment of interdependence. -
There has been a huge push for family ministry the past decade and rightly so. Leading into the future we have to value families not as a stated value but as an actual value. The church and families alike need to admit that this co-dependent relationship is broken and doesn’t honor God. We need to move to a model that creates interdependence where families and church are dependent on each other and where they are both fully dependent on Christ alone.
When talking about connecting parents sometimes our creative ideas and the connecting themselves become an end in themselves.
We start with the wrong question. We ask how can we connect parent. We need to ask that but we first need to ask what are we connecting them to? Do the parents we are partnering with value the same things?
4. Measurement – We measure the wrong things. Measurement is a good thing what measure reveals a lot about us.
The thing that is so dangerous about measurement is it can very quickly become the thing in our life that informs every decision we make.
We can find our identity in something other than Christ. – Our tendency is to move off of the things we can’t see and start to measure our self by things we can see. We often find our worth in kids ministry by how many kids come, by what curriculum we use, by what check-in we have or by how well our spaces are themed.
A lot of the dissatisfaction we have in ministry comes from us measuring the wrong things.
We spend our time and energy on the things we measure. What you measure you get more of. What scares me is getting more of something that isn’t Jesus.
What is crazy is that we can so easily use Jesus to get what we want.
5. Priorities – Our priorities are informed by our loves. We make time for the things we love. Where we spend our times shows what is most valuable to us.
Our priorities are determined by our loves. We spend our time, our money and our energy on the things that matter most.
As a leader you will be pulled on by everyone around you if you don’t put guardrails in your life you will dive off a cliff. – What drives us? Our desire to please everyone. We want to make everyone happy. This is a pipe dream and comes from our desire to have others think well of us rather than God.
26 “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.
Tim Keller on family -
If you manage your time and priorities right, people will be mad at you.
Get used to it.
One of the scariest things about ministry is that we can so easily make the things of ministry the ultimate desire of our lives. We use Jesus to get the things we really want.
-Revelation 21:5,6 5And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.
The Lifeway Kids Ministry Conference is officially underway. Really enjoying meeting lots of new people. This is my first time to come to this conference. Love how each conference has it’s own personality. The opening session was both funny and engaging. Really enjoyed it.
I had the opportunity to do a pre-con breakout with my good friend and fellow blogger Gina Mcclain. We talked about The WHY of ministry, Creating a culture, Structure, and leading your volunteer spiritually.
What is teamwork? It is crazy messy scary awesome nutty fun amazing powerful and life changing.
Paul talks about the church as a body. An interdependent structure that can only fully function when every part is doing their part.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
A Team is much like that. It functions best when there is cohesion and interdependence.
So what does the Anatomy of a team look like?
1. In the first section we talked about starting with the why - The first thing you need is the mind of Christ. What is the why? What is the dream and the vision God has put in your heart. - Let this mind be in you which is also in Christ Jesus.
2 If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, sharing the same feelings, focusing on one goal. 3 Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. 4 Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
Christ’s Humility and Exaltation
5 Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus,
6 who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage.[a]
7 Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form,
8 He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death— even to death on a cross.
9 For this reason God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow— of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth—
11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,[b]
to the glory of God the Father.
2. Skeleton of the team - you need structure once you have the mind of Christ you need the processes and the places in place to carry out the dream God has given you.
Externalize everything -
Externalize Structure – build an org chart -
Externalize Expectations – Job descriptions – should have three parts – expectations, accountability and values
3. Structure without tissue is a bit scary you need muscles and tissue and skin.
This is where structure meets ministry. – determine your leadership capacity – if you have 100 kids don’t lead like you have 60 and don’t lead like you have 600 lead like you have 250.
Intentional Mentoring – You only get out what you pour in relationally
You have to move people from incompetence to competence -
Training (How to do meetings)
4. The heart of the team is you.
What is the thing that only you can do – Pump the vision and the values through the veins of your ministry.
The net result is a growing thriving team – it’s not about numbers it’s about health.
When you go home this week.
Get the mind of God for your ministry -
Be the heart that pumps the vision and values into your leadership team
Build the structure that will keep your team together.
Pour into your team – Do what only you can do.