Practical Stuff for Church Leaders

Moving to Texas

On April 8th I did the scariest thing I’ve ever done and turned in my resignation to a place I’d given my life for 20 years. The scary part wasn’t resigning—I had great peace about that—the scary part was doing it without having had one conversation with anyone about a job. Someone told me that was pretty risky. I responded, “There is a fine line between risk and stupidity, and I’m not sure which side of the line I’m on right now.” I just knew, as I left my job, I wanted to honor the people and church I love.

My goal in leaving was threefold:

  1. Leave well
  2. Burn no bridges
  3. Do everything to ensure a smooth transition.

I submitted myself to the Granger leadership and we worked out a transition plan. It included staying an additional seven weeks fulltime, then another three months in a coaching/transitional role. My transitional responsibilities come to an end next week, and that is when I will officially be turning in my key and walking away from my role on the Granger staff team. It’s not easy saying goodbye, but I feel great about the transition.

These past four months have reminded me again that God knows what He is doing and is quite capable of leading in our lives. Although it was scary to resign a stable job with nothing on the horizon—He has led each step of the way. We’ve had to rely on Him more in the past few months than in years, but that has increased our trust in Him. And for that, I am grateful.

As my family and I leave one great season with gratitude, we look to the next with anticipation. I have accepted a role as the Executive Search Consultant Team Leader at the Vanderbloemen Search Group. That’s a lot of words—but it just means I’ll have the opportunity to pour into a gifted team of men and women who walk with Jesus and are giving their lives to help staff the church.

There is so much that has attracted me to this team. This is a young company with a strong track record and solid foundation. I’ve known William Vanderbloemen for several years, and actually hired his team a few years ago at Granger when we were looking to fill a key position. The Vanderbloemen Search Group is unmatched in its’ process and results in helping churches find great leaders, and I can’t wait to dive in and join them in building the kingdom.

I will start doing some work with Vanderbloemen in a couple weeks, then begin full-time in January. Our house has already sold, and we will be moving our family to Houston next summer after Hunter has finished high school and Taylor has finished 8th grade.

We’d appreciate your prayers as our family begins this new journey, especially during this transitional year as I commute back and forth between Granger and Houston. My heart still beats passionately for the church—and I’m grateful to be in a role where I can continue to add value to pastors and congregations across the country.

If I can serve you or your church in any way, please let me know.

The Next Step

Some know Louie Giglio as the founder of Passion Conferences, others as an author of this book or this one, and some as a pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta. He closes the 2014 Global Leadership Summit with some good thoughts...

  • A lot of times as a leader I don't feel like I know what I'm doing.
  • You don't have to know everything about how to get to the top of the mountain in front of you in order to take the next step.
  • Every leader knows that life is short. This is what gives us the urgency to lead people who don't have that urgency.
  • You don't have to figure out the rest of your life--you just have to take your next step.
  • When it looks like everything is going wrong, embrace the darkness. God is preparing you for a greater role in his unfolding story.
  • Going through tough times makes us humble. Humility isn't a character trait that we develop--it is a byproduct of being with Jesus.

The Power Paradox of Leadership

Ivan Satyavrata is the senior pastor of Assembly of God Church in Kolkata, India. He launched the Friday afternoon session of the 2014 Global Leadership Summit with a talk about power. I recorded these takeaways from his message:

  • Power is the potential or ability to move reality, to make something happen.
  • That is what leaders do. They manage power. It is what they use to make things happen.
  • There is no such thing as leadership without power. The question is, how will we handle the power that has been given to us.
  • A leader must be able to wield power in order to lead effectively. But she must, at the same time, be vulnerable and be a servant. 
  • Knowledge power can lead to intoxicating pride.
  • Jesus knew all power was within his grip, yet bent down to wash feet. Am I holding my basin and towel as tightly as I hold my scepter of power?
  • Jesus loved Judas as much as he loved the other disciples, but refused to use his power to manipulate Judas into submission. 
  • Great leaders refuse to use their power to intimidate or manipulate or control. Rather they use their power to give and add value.
  • If you know the right thing to do, and you don't do it, that for you is evil.
  • In the vast ocean of need, I do not have to be a Christian terminator and wipe away all the evil from the world. I just have to do what I can do to love, and be gracious, and make a difference.
  • The true secret of any great leader's power is that when you feel the weakest, that's when you really are the strongest.

A Tax Collector from Uganda

Allen Catherine Kagina is the Commissioner General of the Uganda Revenue Authority (the equivalent of the IRS in the United States. At the 2014 Global Leadership Summit, she shared her story of transforming the Ugandan tax authority from one of the most corrupt organizations in the country...

  • In 2013, Africa was the fastest growing continent.
  • The media doesn't cover this, but poverty in Africa has declined -- from 57% in 2000 to 48% in 2010.
  • Pre 2004, we were one of the most corrupt organizations in Africa.
  • I got the head job with no training in business.
  • God doesn't know the division between church and politics or church and business. We are the ones who build these walls.
  • We drew a new organization. We terminated 2,000 people and gave them the opportunity to reapply. We fired 500 people and became a much cleaner and more competent organization.
  • Because we brought God into how we treat people and do business -- our revenue has increased 317% in the last 10 years.
  • I am convinced that if we invite God to business and our public areas--I believe God will take over and we'll begin to see better societies. 

Running a Business With a Christian Ethos

Don Flow is the leader of Flow Companies which operates 33 automobile dealerships through North Carolina and Virginia. He is a businessman who strives to weave a Christian ethos through his business dealings. He talked about this during the 2014 Global Leadership Summit:

  • Love is what should animate Christian leaders.
  • Love motivates us to come alongside others, not just exercise authority over them.
  • The company will not be more truthful or more graceful than I am.
  • Because of our commitment to the customer, we intentionally limit our profit, regardless of how easily it would be to make more money from an uninformed guest. This is driven by our commitment to neighborly love. 
  • We care for our employees...
    • We have an emergency grant fund that any employee can apply for, confidentially. This money does not have to be repaid.
    • We offer a $3,000 scholarship for the kids of all our employees.
  • We serve our communities...
    • Every dealership finds ways to serve its' community.
    • We pay for our employees to volunteer for any nonprofit during work hours.
  • We use the acronym SERVE to illustrate that leadership flows out of who we are, not just what we do.
    • S=Show respect -- every person deserves to be respected because they are made in the image of God...not because they do something to deserve it. There is also inherent significance in every job.
    • E=Earn Trust -- in the heart of trust is truth, and a willingness not to be self-seeking. Everyone wants to know, "Are you for me?"
    • R=Reach for Perfection -- we must reach for excellence, but be a people of grace.
    • V=Value input -- every deserves to have value to the process, differing opinions matter.
    • E=Energize others -- purpose, significance and community energizes others.