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Leadership in Perspective

This is Not a Day Care it is a University – Dr. Everett Piper, President, Oklahoma Wesleyan University

I found this article through one of my Christian news sources and thought it would be appropriate to post here.  Often we get side tracked by people who think they are being victimized by what we believe or possible say.  If ever faced with this type of situation consider how Dr. Piper responded to a student who felt victimized over a sermon.

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This past week, I actually had a student come forward after a university chapel service and complain because he felt “victimized” by a sermon on the topic of 1 Corinthians 13. It appears this young scholar felt offended because a homily on love made him feel bad for not showing love. In his mind, the speaker was wrong for making him, and his peers, feel uncomfortable.

I’m not making this up. Our culture has actually taught our kids to be this self-absorbed and narcissistic. Any time their feelings are hurt, they are the victims. Anyone who dares challenge them and, thus, makes them “feel bad” about themselves, is a “hater,” a “bigot,” an “oppressor,” and a “victimizer.”

I have a message for this young man and all others who care to listen. That feeling of discomfort you have after listening to a sermon is called a conscience. An altar call is supposed to make you feel bad. It is supposed to make you feel guilty. The goal of many a good sermon is to get you to confess your sins—not coddle you in your selfishness. The primary objective of the Church and the Christian faith is your confession, not your self-actualization.

So here’s my advice:

If you want the chaplain to tell you you’re a victim rather than tell you that you need virtue, this may not be the university you’re looking for. If you want to complain about a sermon that makes you feel less than loving for not showing love, this might be the wrong place.

If you’re more interested in playing the “hater” card than you are in confessing your own hate; if you want to arrogantly lecture, rather than humbly learn; if you don’t want to feel guilt in your soul when you are guilty of sin; if you want to be enabled rather than confronted, there are many universities across the land (in Missouri and elsewhere) that will give you exactly what you want, but Oklahoma Wesleyan isn’t one of them.

At OKWU, we teach you to be selfless rather than self-centered. We are more interested in you practicing personal forgiveness than political revenge. We want you to model interpersonal reconciliation rather than foment personal conflict. We believe the content of your character is more important than the color of your skin. We don’t believe that you have been victimized every time you feel guilty and we don’t issue “trigger warnings” before altar calls.

Oklahoma Wesleyan is not a “safe place”, but rather, a place to learn: to learn that life isn’t about you, but about others; that the bad feeling you have while listening to a sermon is called guilt; that the way to address it is to repent of everything that’s wrong with you rather than blame others for everything that’s wrong with them. This is a place where you will quickly learn that you need to grow up.

This is not a day care. This is a university.

7 Simple Leadership Tips For Every Pastor and Leader – by Ron Edmondson

I have a heart for leaders. Especially church leaders. I’d love to help others learn from my mistakes. In fact, this is a huge motivation for this blog and a lot of my ministry.

With this in mind, I want to share a few things I’ve learned over the years. I hope it proves helpful.

Here are 7 simple leadership tips:

1.  Fight fewer battles where the win doesn’t matter as much

Okay, honestly, this is hard, because usually people are bringing the battle to you. The petty complaints. The constant grumbling. But, it’s nothing new. Read the Old Testament. The key is to remember the over all vision. What’s the end goal. Go for that and don’t be distracted by the things that won’t matter in eternity.

2.  Don’t try to duplicate as much as you emulate

The connotation of duplicate is to be just like. With emulate, you’re trying to match the level of success, in your individual context – but not necessarily achieve it in the same way. This is so important. You are not someone else. You’ll stress less about your progress if you drop the comparison game. Trust me.

3.  Lead with leaders

The more you surround yourself with people capable of leading others, the greater the impact your leadership can have. It means you’ll have to delegate. You can’t control everything. You must empower – but you’ll be so blessed when you see the church and its leadership capacity grow.

4.  Your downtime is gold

More than you ever imagined. Wow, I wish pastors would learn this one. Don’t neglect your Sabbath. It’s not simply Biblical – it’s highly practical. Discipline yourself to build sufficient rest into your schedule. When you’re tired you will never lead at your best level.

5.  Think marathon not sprint

You will have bad days. There will be critics. You will send a dumb email. You will say the wrong thing. You will plan a project which bombs. On those days, remind yourself of the bigger vision. Regroup. Rest. Recharge. Go at it again tomorrow.

6.  Stop trying to control every outcome

You’ll seldom be able to anyway. When you do, people will either rebel or never live up to their potential. Control the vision, but almost everything else, you can release to the people around you.

7.  Be authentic

Not partially authentic. Be totally authentic. People will trust you more if you are who you claim to be – always. Don’t try to make yourself bigger than you are. People can easily spot the margin between the portrayed you and the real you. And, the greater the margin the less you’ll build trust in those you hope will follow.

Care Enough to Confront – by John Maxwell

“Then Nathan said to David, ‘You are the man!’” 2 Samuel 12:7

Many people avoid confrontation. Some fear being disliked and rejected. Others are afraid confrontation will make things worse by creating anger and resentment in the person they confront. But avoiding confrontation always worsens the situation.Confrontation can be a win–win situation, a chance to help and develop your people—if you do it with respect and with the other person’s best interests at heart. Here are ten guidelines to help you confront positively:

  1. Confront ASAP.
  2. Address the wrong action, not the person.
  3. Confront only what the person can change.
  4. Give the person the benefit of the doubt.
  5. Be specific.
  6. Avoid sarcasm.
  7. Avoid words like “always” and “never.”
  8. If appropriate, tell the person how you feel about what was done wrong.
  9. Give the person a game plan to fix the problem.
  10. Affirm him or her as a person and a friend.

Positive confrontation is a sure sign that you care for a person and have their best interests at heart. Each time you build up your people and identify their problems, you give them an opportunity to grow.

Excerpt from Developing the Leaders Around You

It’s Not About Position, but Credibility – by John Maxwell

“A wise servant will rule over a son who causes shame, and will share an inheritance among the brothers.” Proverbs 17:2

Our influence has less to do with our position or title than it does with the life we live. It’s not about position, but production. It is not the education we get, but the empowerment we give, that makes a difference to others.

The key word is credibility. We gain credibility when our life matches our talk and when both add value to others. How are you doing when it comes to credibility? To find out, answer the following vital questions:

  • Consistency: Are you the same person no matter who’s with you?
  • Choices: Do you make decisions based on how they benefit you or others?
  • Credit: Are you quick to recognize others for their efforts when you succeed?
  • Character: Do you work harder at your image or your integrity?
  • Credibility: Have you recognized that credibility is a victory, not a gift?

Excerpts from The Maxwell Leadership Bible

Spiritual Disciplines and the Sinkhole Syndrome – By Donald Whitney

You know the story. A man has been a believer in Christ for decades. To all outward appearances he’s a man of Christian faithfulness and integrity. He has maintained a reputation as a fine example of public and private faithfulness to the things of God for decades. Then, without warning, it all collapses into a sinkhole of sin. Everyone wonders how it could have happened so quickly. In most cases, it soon becomes known that—like most sinkholes—the problem didn’t develop overnight.

Several years ago, this man likely had a relatively consistent devotional life through which the Lord often refreshed, strengthened, and matured him. But with each passing year, his busy life became ever busier. Increasingly he saw his devotional life more as a burden—a mere obligation sometimes—than a blessing. Because of the massive doses of Bible teaching he’d heard—in addition to the knowledge gained teaching church Bible classes himself—he began to imagine that he needed less private prayer and Bible intake than when he was younger and not as spiritually mature. Besides, he had so many other God-given responsibilities that surely God would understand that he was too busy to meet with Him every day.

One small concession led to another; one plausible rationalization led to the next, until the devastating day when a tipping point was reached and the spiritual weakness developed by too many private compromises could no longer sustain even the appearance of Christian integrity. And into the sinkhole fell his reputation, witness, ministry, and perhaps much more.

If you’re a strong, young Christian, passionate about the things of God, and you find it impossible to imagine yourself coming to such a condition: beware. This situation could easily be yours in a few years. The words of 1 Corinthians 10:12 are an apt admonition here: “Let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.”

I’ve been in pastoral ministry for twenty-four years. For fifteen years I’ve been a professor of biblical spirituality. I’ve written several books and many articles related to spirituality. I speak on the subject to future ministers and missionaries on a daily basis in the seminary classroom, and in churches and conferences around the country almost every weekend. And yet I will freely admit that it’s harder for me to maintain my devotional life now than ever in my life. That’s because I’m busier now than ever. I have many more responsibilities than I had as a young man. And they all take time, time that must come from somewhere.

As the pressures of life increase and more deadlines loom, it becomes harder to maintain time for the devotional life. And herein is where the erosion begins.

At the outset it’s likely that very few will know when the hidden part of your spiritual life begins crumbling. Just as imperceptible movements of water underground can carry away the earth beneath long before anyone on the surface perceives it, so the pressures of life can secretly displace the soil of our private spiritual disciplines long before the impact of their absence is visible to others. The more public parts of a Christian’s life, such as church involvement and various forms of ministry, can often continue with little observable change right up until the awful moment of collapse and the hypocrisy is revealed.

I’m sure you’re already familiar with many factors that undermine intimacy with Christ. Realize that it’s almost certain that the “time-thieves” trying to steal from your time with God will only increase as the years pass. My hope is that this article will alert you to this subtle, creeping tendency so that it won’t overtake you.

Never be deceived by the temptation to think that with the increasing spiritual maturity you expect to come with age, the less you will need to feast your soul on Christ through the Bible and prayer. What Jesus prayed in John 17:17 for all His followers—“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth”—applies to us all throughout our lives.

Jesus practiced what He prayed for us. While Jesus is infinitely more than our example, nevertheless, He is also our example of sanctified living, of life coram Deo. The Bible tells us that Jesus regularly attended when God’s people assembled to hear the Scriptures (Luke 4:16) and also that He would get alone to meet with His Father (Matt. 14:23). Jesus’ followers need both the sustaining grace that comes through the public worship of God as well as that which comes to us when we meet with Him individually.

I don’t want to minimize the role of the church in preventing spiritual shipwreck in the life of the believer. In this piece, however, I am writing to warn those who will increasingly be tempted to think that frequently meeting God with others can compensate for seldom meeting with Him alone.

There are seasons of life when our devotional habits may be providentially altered. But the general rule is that those reconciled to God through the cross of His Son need conscious, personal communion with Him every day until the day they see Him face to face. And the ordinary means by which He gives it is through the personal spiritual disciplines found in Scripture, chief of which are the intake of the Word of God and prayer.

Pursue the Lord with a relentless, lifelong, obstacle-defying passion. Resolve never to let your daily life keep you from Jesus daily.

 


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