The softer side of leadership

Want to learn how to empower others rather than how to command them? Here’s a summary of Gary Burnison’s tips on how to Learn the softer side of Leadership. There’s only one of these that I would want to adjust or for pastoral ministry. Which one? Take a guess.

  1. Leaders are the mirrors for the entire organization.  If the leader is down, the organization will follow. If leaders reflect optimism and confidence, the organization will rise.
  2. Leadership is taking charge to help others execute.  A leader does not tell people what to think or do, but rather guides them in what to think about.
  3. Leadership is awareness of what you’re not hearing.  People won’t tell you what you really need to know, only what they think you want to hear. To keep from being isolated, you need to be out there and engaged with customers and employees.
  4. Leadership should be humbling.  Humility is the grace that constantly whispers, “It’s not about you.” Humility means that you know who you are, where you’ve been, and what you have accomplished. With that knowledge, you can get out of your own way and focus on others.
  5. Leadership has an endpoint–organizations should not.  Leaders must recognize the endpoint of their leadership is not the endpoint for the organization. Just as leaders took over from someone else, so others will follow them as successors.
  6. Leadership is all about how you make other people feel.  Your achievement as a leader is measured in the success of others…Leadership conveys and embodies the enduring purpose and deeper reasons for an organization’s existence.

You can read the whole post here.

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Dads, sing like you mean it for your kids are watching
“You did a fantastic job as my father and I am so glad I got to be your son. Thank you for taking me to church. But more importantly thank you for going to church and being joyful there. Thank you for singing like you meant every word… You have no idea how that still affects me… I love you dad.”

On the need to unplug
“We need to unplug. And when I say unplug, I mean to be totally present and uninterrupted in our face-to-face interactions with family and friends, and in our prayers and praises to God. This kind of presence demands that we put away anything that beeps, buzzes, glows or otherwise draws our attention.” (HT)

It’s not about you
“Did I really connect in my sermon? Did I spend enough time pursuing visitors? Did I give the right advice to the parents of a troubled teen? If I had done something different, would the result have been better? Slowly but surely, the terms of evaluating my ministry have become highly self-referential”

Ligonier National Conference Livestream
Click on over to find out how you can listen/watch all the addresses on “The Christian Mind.”

An open letter to the President
“Mr. President, please look into the beautiful faces of your daughters and remember the time that your wife carried them in her womb.  Your heart tells you they were children then as they are now.”


A picture is worth a thousand words

On this week’s episode of the Connected Kingdom Podcast I take on Tim Challies’ challenge to explain Typology in 7-8 minutes!

Download here.

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Loving the way Jesus loved

Philip Graham Ryken. Loving the way Jesus Loves. Wheaton: Crossway, 2012. 224 pages. $14.99.

I’ve never met Wheaton College president Phil Ryken, but as a long-term listener to his Tenth Presbyterian sermons, I feel as if I’ve known him for years. And after reading this sublime book on Christ’s love, I feel as if I’ve just looked into his heart.

Anyone familiar with Ryken’s preaching ministry will know how he skillfully combines an incredible knowledge of Scripture with a phenomenal knowledge of classical and modern culture, and a breadth and depth of reading in historic and current Christian literature—all the while keeping Scripture in its primary place. He’s also one of the most Christ-centered preachers that I know of, regardless of whether he’s teaching Old Testament or New, narratives or doctrine, poets or Gospels.

Love for Love
It’s that rare Rykenesque mix that is so beautifully embodied in this book on 1 Corinthians 13. Perhaps it’s the theme of love that plays so delightfully to Ryken’s strengths. I’ve always appreciated his love for Jesus and for souls in his sermons, and it comes to full-blooming flower in this book.

Phil Ryken loves love. In fact I’ve sometimes thought that to be rebuked by him would be one of life’s unusually unique pleasures. It would be so gentlemanly, so dignified, so measured, so reasonable, so compelling, so . . . well, so loving.

You will come away from his book softened, mellowed, calmed, entranced, even inspired, and all by an eloquently stunning exposition of love. As you read, you gently and enjoyably swing between praise: “Thank you, Jesus, for loving me like that!” to prayer: “Help me, Jesus to love you; and to love like you.” Or I could easily conceive of an unbeliever reading it and praying, “Lord Jesus, please love me like this.”

Pitfalls and Potholes
I don’t know what it is about well-known parts of Scripture that make them so hard to preach and teach from. But, as most preachers will tell you, for all our familiarity with 1 Corinthians 13, it’s not an easy passage to preach. Some get bogged down in the etymology of the Greek words or in philosophical abstractions. Others import too much of our culture’s understanding of love into it, or turn it into a dry list of do’s and don’ts. Still others turn these beautiful words into an ugly club with which they beat up their “loveless” listeners.

Ryken avoids all these pitfalls and potholes; he leads us to and leaves us with Jesus. Don’t get me wrong, he deals with the Greek and explains the philosophy; he compares and contrasts our culture’s views of love; he translates his teaching into practical Christianity; and he certainly doesn’t shy away from confronting us with our sinful lovelessness. However, all of these approaches and steps are but servants that he skillfully marshals to the one great, greater, and greatest end of setting forth Jesus Christ in all his gracious and irresistible love.

Too Much Cheesecake
I read this book in a number of sittings and over a few weeks, not because of time or work pressure, but because I wanted to savor each precious sight of Christ that Ryken gave me. To read another chapter at times seemed to be like eating an extra cheesecake after Sunday dinner. Why waste what you’ve enjoyed by cramming in more than you can comfortably digest? Why not keep the extra piece until you can really relish it? And I’ve been doing a lot of relishing these past few weeks.

At times I felt like I did when I was reading Samuel Rutherford’s letters; letters that were so full of Christ, that it seemed almost sacrilegious to read more than one at a time.

Multiple Openings
Due to Ryken’s method, this book will not only open up 1 Corinthians 13 for you, it will also give you new and fresh light on numerous Gospel narratives. Above all, it will open up God’s heart to you and show you his love as you’ve perhaps never seen it before. And if that doesn’t open up your own heart, nothing will.

This book will increase the knowledge, experience, appreciation, and imitation of God’s love in the world. I can think of no higher commendation.

This review was originally published at The Gospel Coalition Books Reviews. For more reviews visit here.

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There is hope
Here’s a Monday morning message for all who care for people with disabilities. It’s also a call to the rest of us to be caregivers to the caregivers.

What makes business Christian [Part 2]
And here’s a Monday morning message for the 9-5′ers.  [Part 1 here]

What about spiritual disciplines and spiritual formation in counseling?
Bob Kellemen lists eight principles to consider.

What does it mean to be a Gospel-centered Seminary?
Randy Roberts, President of Western Seminary, answers.

The secret, selfish side of social curation sites
Is social media really selfish media?

Ed Stetzer on Technology
12 positives and 12 precautions.

Confessions of a limping Greek Teacher
Longer post but worthwhile read for all teachers everywhere. And if you want to know the best part about learning the biblical languages, click here. [HT Bible Exposition]