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Posts tagged ‘Leadership’

Pastor, You Might Be Sitting on the Solution.

Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland

I was returning from San Diego to Atlanta after attending the memorial service of a friend who lost his wife to a long battle with cancer. Having arrived at the airport early, I decided to get some work done. I was in search of two things.

First, I looked for a wall socket to plug into so I didn’t drain the battery in my laptop and end up unable to work on the four-hour flight home. I was willing to sit anywhere if I could have an outlet, including the floor. The second thing I was in search of was a chocolate chip cookie. The cookie I quickly found. However, I made the mistake of reading the label of ingredients. It contained 38 grams of sugar! What? I’m proud to tell you that I ate less than half! But I couldn’t find a wall outlet anywhere.

A seat was open near the gate, facing out toward the planes, so I grabbed it. I like those “window” seats best because I enjoy watching the planes come and go, along with all the activity on the runways.

A young guy was sitting next to me with his Mac open too. Then I noticed it. He was plugged in! I couldn’t believe it, his seat had a plug right in the arm of the chair! I wished I had HIS seat! Then in a moment, I was overcome by the simultaneous emotions of happiness and embarrassment. Yes, my seat had a plug too. In fact, it had TWO plugs. I was thrilled. So I grabbed my cord and plugged in.  Two minutes later the gate attendant announced that it was time to board the plane.

Have you ever had a problem and found that you were sitting right on top of the solution? Sometimes the most unseen answers are in the most obvious places.

The following are few “simple” thoughts to help us all find the solutions we seek, especially because they might be right before us. These thoughts are simple to understand, but not so easy to consistently practice. Are you up for the challenge?

1. Slow down. When I’m in an airport, I’m usually moving fast. Actually, that’s how I operate all too often, moving fast with little margin. I’ve learned that if I don’t slow down at least for a short while each day I will lose my bearings and miss the obvious.  I may miss an important moment with a staff person or miss my sense of intuition in a meeting. Slowing down is vital, even if it doesn’t feel like you have time to slow down. Slowing down allows you to see, sense, and experience so much that you would otherwise miss.

2. Pay attention. Paying attention seems basic, but it actually requires a great deal of discipline especially when you are in very familiar territory. It’s easy to take things for granted and assume that you know all you need to know. Take a familiar Bible verse for example, like John 3:16, it’s easy to assume that you “know that one.”  When in fact, few verses contain more depth and richness that can be reflected on for a lifetime.

What do you take for granted that you need to take a closer look at?  Perhaps it’s your parking ministry? How about your ushers or greeters? Maybe it’s your nursery. When you consistently pay close attention you are likely to see solutions for improvement that you didn’t know existed.

3. Focus. It’s been said that the church never sleeps. Well, I say that even if no one else does. It’s also true that the church can lead you in a hundred different directions if you let it. Without focus you will spin your wheels and get little more than exhausted. Speed and pressure are important components of momentum but they also create problems. One of your primary responsibilities as a leader is to anticipate and solve problems. You can’t do your best problem solving without a laser focus on the issues at hand. Distraction is a great enemy of any leader.

You can see the progression so far.  Slow down, pay attention and focus. It’s a sequence. Let’s keep going.

4. Don’t make it more complicated than it really is. As leaders, we all have flaws. One of mine is that I can, on occasion, make something more complicated than it really is. That’s a little ironic because the staff I work with most closely tend to believe I can over-simplify what a task actually requires! Which do you tend to do? Over-complicate or over-simplify? We all lean in one direction, and being self-aware helps you lead better. Neither extreme is good, but I think that if you tend to over-complicate things, in general, you will get stuck in the details of the problem and miss the solutions that are often right in front of you. The remedy? Look up! Take a quick break. Slow down. Pay attention to the big picture and focus on what really matters.

5. Consider alternative possibilities. One of the practices the team does well at 12Stone is to consider more than one option. It’s never a good idea to latch on to the first idea and believe it’s the best solution. It might be, but more than likely there is another solution, perhaps even a better one. You can’t know the best solution until you’ve compared it to a couple other ideas. While at the airport, I could have worked on something different that didn’t require my laptop in order to save my battery for the flight. I could have asked to share a plug someone else was using. There are always alternative possibilities and they are often right in front of us.

6. Ask others who have found success with a similar problem. This is a great example of looking for my glasses when they are on my head. I was sitting next to a guy who was plugged in. Why didn’t I ask him about it or make a comment of some kind? Why did I let my mind think, even for just a few minutes, that it was just his seat, or end isle seats only, or every other seat only? I don’t know what thought was rattling around in my mind, but it wasn’t creative or productive. It was simply… “Hey, HE has a plug.”

Candidly, I’ve heard leaders respond like that hundreds of times. It’s that kind of thinking that will cause you and me to miss a solution, even the one we may be sitting on. Just ask. The amazing thing is that when we do ask, the answer is usually not some exotic kind of secret that we respond to with an “Oh my gosh, that blows my mind.”  It’s usually more like, “Oh, I can do that.”

The important thing is not only the solution in the moment; it’s also what you learned about finding solutions, especially the ones that you may be “sitting on.”

Written by Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland is Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Ga. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY.

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4 Vital Parts to Reproducing Great Leaders.

Church leadership meeting

“It’s time to make time count.”

That’s the place we’re in as a church. I’m not getting any younger, and it seems we are losing Kingdom ground on a national and international level. The only answer to reversing that is building and growing Kingdom and mission minded leaders who will do the same.

I feel a great sense of urgency that we have to equip and empower an entire new army of leaders, younger leaders that have incredible passion for the mission of the church to multiply. In response to that, we have revamped our leadership development process.

At its core our new process has four parts:

1. A pre-process. It’s important that potential leaders know you are serious about multiplying leaders. That it’s not just another “program” they can sign up for. Make your leadership process by invitation only, and where some pretty high standards must be met prior to being allowed in.

2. A basic beginning. Start all at the same point. It’s important that all those with you know the vision, passion and direction of your church. Don’t make any assumptions! Remember what they used to say, “Assumption is the mother of all _________.”

It will be difficult to build on a foundation if you didn’t lay it from the beginning.

3. A measurable middle. You can’t manage what you can’t measure. You will never know where people are in their abilities if you don’t measure their progress.

Some will complete a portion of your process, and not have the gift set to continue to the next level. It’s better to know that in the middle, and release them to use what they have learned, than to frustrate them and waste unproductive resources and time.

We can’t nor should we expect that all those in our process will become level-five leaders. We have a tremendous deficit of level three leaders as well.

4. A clear call. Leaders that complete all parts of your leadership process should be equipped and have a clear call to go and multiply themselves into others. Your leadership culture must be one of calling leaders to multiply.

The end of all can’t be just completion, but one of a deep sense of call. Empower and equip your leaders to reproduce themselves. If this last step is neglected you will have only succeeded in producing a tribe of new Pharisees that will guard their territory rather than seeking to enlarge it.

It’s time to make time count.If you don’t have a leadership process, start one, a simple one. Change it as you go, but have a process! You have no right to complain about loyalty, the lack of volunteers, that no one is giving or no one is “stepping up” if aren’t imparting that to potential leaders.

Written by Artie Davis

Artie Davis wears a lot of hats and leads a lot of people. He’s a pastor at Cornerstone Community Church in Orangeburg, S.C. He heads the Comb Network and the Sticks Conference. He speaks and writes about leadership, ministry, church planting, and cultural diversity in the church. You can find his blog at or catch him on Twitter @artiedavis.

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Nigeria: A Country On Auto-pilot! By Olanrewaju Daodu.

Fellow Nigerians, as the year is gradually winding down and on its last inhalation of oxygen, and what a year it has been! Sincerely, we don’t need esoteric revelations to know that the Nigerian ship is sailing speedily more than ever before towards a destructive massive iceberg. While extrapolations from recent events in our beloved country are leaving both the victimizers and the victims as well as the oppressors and the oppressed perpetually perplexed while others stand akimbo in utter confusion. Truly a double tragedy!

Where we are today as a people didn’t fall in our laps as a cluster of cherries, we had remote and negative indications of this abyss but we were nonchalantly busy and wishful. There are gargantuan challenges to tackle, ranging from institutionalized and classified corruption both in low and exalted places, evil twins of ignorance and poverty, widespread insecurity, high rate of unemployment, inefficient power supply, massive human rights abuse, miscarriage of justice and outright disregard for the rule of law, electoral fraud, religious crisis, inter-tribal clashes to mention but just a few.

Really, we are all aware of these unfavorable forces contending against the peace and progress of this country but what has eluded and left us all in bewilderment is the permanent way out of this ugly mess we have been dragged into.

Let it also be clear that it is wasteful and sheer irresponsibility to outsource the solutions to our numerous challenges to expatriates, where do we really start from? No expatriate can move our aboriginal mountains for us. It falls on us as citizens to roll up our sleeves and get down in the trenches to do the dirty work! Although responsibility rises and falls on the shoulders of leadership of any community, institution and country who keeps custody of vast resources, it is pertinent therefore that the leaders and the followers form a working partnership for a sustainable progress and development.

The incessant and singular prayer on the lips of majority of the citizens and international observers is: is there any functional government in Nigeria? It is as if our dear country is currently on self-destruct auto-pilot. Or what do you make out a country where corruption and corrupt practices are condoned and celebrated in the broad day light and medals are given to the top three positions as if in athletic games? Where the judiciary convicts the innocent and discharges and acquits proven offenders!A country where millions of her youths roam the streets, many years after graduation from school, as result of an ever rising rate of unemployment .

Where thousands of companies have folded up or moved their operation bases to neighboring countries. Where hundred of thousands of people lose their lives yearly as a result of bad road networks and negligence of the road management authority. A country where the highest authority in the aviation industry is more interested in self-serving N255m worth of bullet-proof cars for personal convenience at the expense of enforcing regulatory policies that should ensure safety of our airspace. A country that promotes the marriage of the minors and ignores their rights to universal basic education. A country where democracy has since become unattractive and unsustainable. A geographical entity threatened daily by home-bred terrorists(due to combined forces of ignorance and poverty).

At this juncture, if you are a Nigerian and you are still in doubt of the auto-pilot reality of the Nigerian ship, it is either you have since taken asylum in another country with limited or no access to a reliable information communication network or you are simply living in denial, in which case is worse.

Fellow compatriots, don’t be deceived God isn’t mocked, year 2014 and beyond might not be any better or different if we keep mute and just wish our way out this current quagmire into a choice haven. It doesn’t happen that way! We are a religious country with rich cultural heritages; these two factors have belied and kept us in a seizure of fantasy. The time has finally come to slap ourselves out of this prolonged slumber and brace up to our responsibility as agents of nation building. Let us stop deluding ourselves with a “all is well” when all isn’t really well as reflected by the stark reality of our country.

The first step to rescue the Nigerian ship from this auto-pilot condition is to stop living in denial of the Nigerian state and face the reality no matter how ugly. Let’s stop the blame game, our leaders emerged from us to steer the wheels of the Nigerian vehicle. We are our leaders and our leaders are part of us!

The second step is citizenship responsibility and participation awareness. The mass of the people possess the mighty weapon called a ‘vote’. With our votes we can remove or install a government that has failed to deliver on its manifestos and promises or return a government with a pass mark, respectively. It becomes so worrisome when the electorate mortgage the future of their children for a slice of bread and mug of tea. Men and women of proven and tested characters and with potentials and intellects to catalyze and lead the reactions of the desired change in the system should be voted in at all level of representation in government without any unreasonable bias along the divide of ethnic,religion or gender. Meritocracy should be promoted and supported at all times.

Also our democratic structures and institutions should be strengthened on all fronts.

Corruption and financial scams should attract the death penalty to dissuade others and let’s make public service unattractive to accidental politicians. Human capacity development should be promoted with massive industrialization for massive employment drive while creating entrepreneurship alternatives and easy access to short and medium term loan facilities to correct the imbalance in income distribution and reduce poverty to the barest minimum. Our infrastructure should also be improved upon in both rural and urban areas to check rural-urban migration malady.

Penultimately, universal basic education is a third world mentality, Nigeria and the rest of Africa should move beyond that and provide quality education from primary to tertiary level.

Merry Christmas and happy new year in advance!
Long live Nigeria!

Olanrewaju Daodu
Regional Representative(Nigeria)


The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Okorocha gets more Islamisation powers from APC as Elected Chairman Of Progressive Governors Forum.


All Progressives Congress (APC) governors under the aegis of Progressive Governors Forum have unanimously adopted Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State as their chairman.The choice of Okorocha as chairman of the PGF was contained in a statement by the Director-General of the Forum, Salihu Lukman, in Abuja on Friday.The Imo State governor would be in the saddle in an interim capacity for about six months.The statement said the election of Gov. Okorocha was in furtherance of the commitment of the 16 progressive governors to strengthen democratic governance structures in the country with the overriding goal of rescuing Nigeria and facilitating the emergence of accountable leadership at all levels by the APC.“Okorocha would provide leadership to PGF to realise the collective vision of the progressive governors to engender expeditiously exemplary human development programmes and policies in all APC states” the statement read.It added that “Considering how consistently the PDP has attacked the foundations of our democracy, and the subsequent erosion of Nigerians’ hard-won freedom, the PGF under Okorocha’s leadership, pledges to mobilise citizens towards expanding and deepening democratic structures by focusing on initiatives to guarantee the development of participatory governance structures as well as the guarantee of transparent, credible elections and the results reflect the votes of the Nigerian people.“We urge Nigerians to support the initiatives of our Progressive Governors under the leadership of Rochas Okorocha; Nigeria will be great again”, the statement concluded.

by: daniel

Source: Radio Biafra.

7 Difficult People to Lead.

Pastors conflict

What type of person do you find difficult to lead? (Michael Kowalski/Shutterstock)

Someone asked me recently, “Who has been the most difficult person you’ve had to lead?” That’s a great question. As a leader for over a quarter of a century (wow, that sounds old), I’ve experienced just about everything you can imagine in leading people.

I once had an employee call in sick because her snake was peeling. And the snake got depressed when he shed. She needed to be home to comfort the snake. That was a new one … and a story for another time … but I’ve learned not to be surprised at what people you are trying to lead may say or do.

I’ve also learned some people are easier to lead than others. Often personalities, experiences and preferences negatively impact a person’s ability to be led effectively.

Here are 7 of the hardest people to lead:

Know it all? It’s difficult to lead someone who won’t listen, because they don’t think they have a need for what you have to say. They think they know more than you … and everyone else. They may or may not, but it makes them very hard to lead.

Gifted leaders. Don’t misunderstand this one. I don’t mean they try to be difficult. They just bring higher expectations for those who try to lead them. I have had some very successful retired pastors in my churches. I love having them … but they keep me on my toes! (And, that’s a good thing.)

Hyper-critical. When someone is always negative it becomes difficult to lead them, mostly because they zap the motivation from you to do so. They never have anything positive to add to the team, the glass is always have empty, and the sky is always about to fall. Draining.

Wounded. Wounded people are more resistant to being led to something new until they heal. I’ve had staff members who came to our church injured. I knew before I could effectively lead them I had to help them heal from their past.

Insecure. Those who lack self-confidence are harder to lead, because they are hesitant to take a risk. The best leadership involves delegation. It’s people who assume responsibility for a task. Insecure people will usually only move when they are given specific tasks to complete. And, while good leaders encourage followers, insecure people need constant feedback and assurance, which can be exceptionally time demanding for leaders.

Traditionalist. This may not be the right word, perhaps risk-averse would be better, but leadership always involves change. Always. Without change there is no need for leadership. So, those who cling so tightly to the past are harder to lead to something new. There is nothing wrong with tradition or with enjoying the memories of the past. It’s when someone’s love of our history prevents them from embracing their future that it becomes difficult leading them.

Myself. The hardest person to lead is almost always the leaders. If leaders could always perform as we’d have others perform, we’d be better leaders. In fact, most of us would be excellent leaders.

I’m sure I missed some. The fact is everyone can be difficult to lead at times and during seasons. It’s what makes leadership fun, right? Seriously, all of these scenarios and types of people serve a role. Whether or not they prove to be a good fit for your team, they sharpen our skills of leadership.

What type person have you found hardest for you to lead?.

Written by Ron Edmondson

Ron Edmondson is a church planter and pastor with a heart for strategy, leadership and marketing, especially geared toward developing churches and growing and improving the kingdom of God.

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Chief Nwosu President Goodluck the only president talking about development.


I have considered the way Nigeria is going and I thought she needs to grow and develop. But while I was in the public service, I couldn’t make comments on issues concerning leadership in the country but I secretly wrote articles which were published in The Guardian, for instance, “Why the Military Intrude in African Politics“, published in 1978.

I retired voluntarily from the Customs and began thinking of how to write a book that will encapsulate all my ideas about leadership, growth and development. By that, I tried in my book,”Leadership & Developmental Issues in Nigeria: A Search for Development Strategies”, to make a distinction between growth and development. Growth is simply economic expansion where you produce and people consume and it does not translate to development. But development is when Political Leadership begin thinking in terms of how to bridge the gap, that is technological gap between us and developed countries of the world.

This is done by building infrastructures, mass transit fares to move people, building aeroplanes, why can’t we build our own automobiles and automobile parts and couple them in this country and then sell to other countries? We need industrialisation,

technological acquisition, development and adapting, etc , these are ingredients for development.

It is surprising that people say no we can’t develop that way but if you look at developed countries of the world, they are the most advanced in terms of technology, they are the richest, and so, Nigeria cannot continue to depend on only one natural resource; selling of oil and all that, otherwise, why are we always broke? The answer is simply because the profit or whatever money we make from oil sales is not enough to run the affairs of this country.

That is why we run borrowing from time to time. We need to expand our resource base, by industrialisation, manufacturing and exporting, producing food in abundance for everybody then put prices down, develop housing for people and when you give them transportation in addition to low cost housing, you don’t need to pay big money as salary because they have transport and other amenities.

Nigeria’s level of development?

I will limit myself to this present administration. It appears that because President Jonathan is educated and also, a science person, it seems to me that for the first in the history of Nigeria, we have someone who is thinking about development. Jonathan is such a leader, apart from Late Yar’Adua who would have been such a person but death stopped him too early. But Jonathan stepped into his shoes and seems to have gone further than expectation as far as I am concerned. I am speaking for myself. Jonathan is talking about development, launching of satellite, building our own automobiles and all that because he is the kind of president that has development agenda for the nation.

Objective of the book?

My book is to create awareness and arouse in the minds of political leaders the need to bridge development, technological and industrial gap between us and advanced countries of the world. Other countries will not take us serious if we don’t begin to put necessary infrastructure in place, for the nation’s development.

Once again, Nigeria needs to grow and develop and that is why I have in my book, documented all the indices of development which have been lacking in the governance of Nigeria

How can Nigeria win the war against corruption?

First and foremost, the presidential system of Governance should be dropped because it is not conducive for Nigerian polity. Parliamentary system which will keep leaders on their toes is best because there will be no room for corruption. What we have at the moment is a situation whereby the executive, judiciary and legislature are busy chasing their personal agenda because the presidential system does not check them properly. All these are documented in my book for reference purpose.

Source: Radio Biafra.

10 Things Church Volunteers Wish Their Pastor Knew About Them.


What are the volunteers serving in your church thinking? What are their hopes, dreams and needs? During the last 26 years, I have had the privilege of serving on two church staffs, but the vast majority of my time has been as a volunteer.

To assist pastors and church leaders with better connecting with those who have made the strategic choice to leverage their marginal time and talent to serve others, the following are 10 things volunteers wish their pastor knew about them:

1. We desperately want to make a difference with our one and only life. Everyone wants to live a life of significance. We have decided the best place for that to take place is our local church.

2. Our time is valuable, so be organized and tell us what to do. We live very busy lives. When we show up to serve, please have us something important for us to do, and be well organized.

3. We want to serve in the context of community. People begin serving at a church for two reasons: first, to do something significant; second, to make friends. Pastors and church leaders need to always build a time of community into every volunteer effort.

4. Our opinion matters. We make important organizational decisions in the marketplace every day of our lives. We build teams and leverage resources. We are also at Ground Zero in regard to what is happening at the church. Smart pastors seek out and value our thoughts and insights. Don’t marginalize us.

5. We want influence, not position. It is a common misconception that if you give someone a title, it will please them. Titles are not bad things, but they fail in comparison to influence.

6. We want our efforts to be an integral part of making the church’s vision a reality. Volunteers want to know what they are doing makes a difference in the overall scheme of things and is not just a busy task.

7. We want to grow spiritually. The core desire of our hearts is to be connected with the heart of God.

8. All we want is for someone to say, “Thank you. You made a difference today.” Everyone wants to be told they are pretty. A simple expression of genuine thanks deepens the relationship with the church and inspires our continued efforts.

9. We want you to ask us to serve. The No. 1 reason a person joins a cause or team is because someone asks them. There are dozens, maybe hundreds, of qualified volunteers at your church who would love to serve if someone would just ask them.

10. We want the freedom to take a break when we need one. This is critical. There are seasons in your life when you are just tired or have little margin. There must be freedom to take a break for a season. If not, when a volunteer leaves a ministry position, they often leave the church as well because they feel they have no other options.

Pastors and church leaders, I know you appreciate and love your volunteers. We all know you could not get by without them. I trust this post will help you better connect with them and serve them in the way that you wish to.

Brian Dodd’s daytime job is as a generosity architect and leadership consultant for INJOY Stewardship Solutions. During the last 10-plus years, he has spent each day having one-on-one conversations with many of the greatest church leaders in America. He also has more than 25 years of church volunteer and staff experience. Check out his blog: Brian Dodd on Leadership.

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Written by Brian K. Dodd

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