Defining Your Mission Statement

Disregarding the command of God, you keep the tradition of men. (Mark 7:8)

Effective leaders see beyond the traditional way of doing things and look for better ways.  They do this, however, realizing that some things are so sacred they are untouchable, and they always keep the ultimate goal in mind.

This is why it is so important to have a well-thought out, closely defined, easily understood mission statement.  Without this, even the most compelling and charismatic leaders get off track and go astray.  A mission statement is essential to quality leadership.  Otherwise, personality, pride, and the demands of the moment will be diverting.

For Jesus, “the command of God,” doing His Father’s will, constituted His mission statement. And the “tradition of men” was never going to sidetrack Him from His goal.  He was not to be diverted.

Again, the point to notice in Mark 7:8 is not that the Pharisees were holding on to the traditions of men.  We all do that to some extent becasue tradition helps to take the best of the past as a guide while we walk into the future.  Jesus might be wrongly seen here as attacking all tradition.  Instead, He criticized the Pharisees for having let go of the commands of God. When you place your own traditions underneath God’s will, they will serve as a positive guide, but, when the order is reversed, you will end up exactly like the Pharisees – abandoning God’s will for your own personal agenda.

Note the specific example Jesus gave in the following passage, verses 9-13. Continue reading

Formula for Faithfulness

In his book Be All You Can Be, John Maxwell shares the formula for fruitfulness taught by Jesus.

Jesus gives us a three-word formula for fruitfulness in John 15. These three words are the ones I want you to remember, because they are the key to fruitful living.

1. REMAIN – The first word is remain. Throughout John 15 Jesus tells us to remain. In fact, the word abide in the original language can be translated “remain.” “Remain in Me,” Jesus says. He’s talking about our willingness to take time with Him in prayer and in study of the Word. We need to let Him begin to be part of our lives and work on our lives.

2. RECEIVE – The second word in the formula is receive. Jesus says in John 15 that if we remain in Him, we will begin to receive certain things. What we’ll receive is good, fruitful living.

3. REPRODUCE – The third word is reproduce. If we remain in Him, we’re going to receive what He has for us, then and only then will we begin to reproduce in our lives.

Spend some time reading John chapter 15 from God’s Word, and then I encourage you to apply these principles to you life.  Decide today you are going to be fruitful!

Keep the Project Alive with Action Steps!

I just read a great article on “Action Steps” at www.the99percent.com website. As pastors, we need to bring this management tool into the DNA of our churches.

Action Steps are the most important components of any project.  It’s the oxygen for keeping projects alive.

No Action Steps = No Action = No Results!

The actual outcome of any idea is dependent on the Actions Steps that are captured and then completed by you or delegated to someone else. Action Steps are to be revered and treated as sacred in any project.

The more clear and concrete an Action Step is, the less friction you will encounter trying to do it. If an Action Step is vague or complicated, you will probably skip over it to others on your list that are more straightforward.

To avoid this, start each Action Step with a verb. For example:

  • Call programmer to discuss . . .
  • Install new software for . . .
  • Research the possibility of . . .
  • Mock up a sample of the . . .
  • Update XYZ document for . . .

Verbs help pull us into our Action Steps at first glance, efficiently indicating what type of action is required. For similar reasons, Action Steps should be kept short.

The more clear and concrete an Action Step is, the less friction you will encounter trying to do it!

To read the entire article on “Action Steps” visit www.the99percent.com.

Take Time To Think

John Maxwell poses this question, “What’s a successful person’s greatest resource in difficult times? Good thinking!”

John expounds more on thinkers:

  • Good thinkers are always in demand. A person who knows how may always have a job, but the person who knows why will always be his boss.
  • Good thinkers solve problems, they never lack ideas for building an organization, and they always have hope for a better future.
  • Good thinkers rarely find themselves at the mercy of ruthless people who would take advantage of them or try to deceive them, people like Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, who once boasted, “What luck for rulers that men do not think.”

Those who develop the process of good thinking can rule themselves – even while under an oppressive ruler or in other difficult circumstances.  In short, good thinkers are successful.  It goes without saying that we as leaders MUST build time into our schedule to think before making decisions.

If you are like me, we are bombarded everyday with questions.  People with wonderful intentions posing questions that can really change the direction of the ministry or organization.

I’ve discovered in the past that I often said yes when someone asked me to do something without really thinking about it. They would ask, I would spent a few seconds debating with myself and then found myself saying yes way too often. And, afterwards I often regretted saying yes because, 1) I really didn’t have the time to do whatever I had agreed to, 2) it wasn’t a priority for me, or 3) it had a navigational effect on the direction of my ministry.

The problem was that I was responding to each request emotionally. I don’t like disappointing people and I often feel an urge to help others if they’re stuck. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be if you constantly end up helping others at the expense of yourself, your priorities, or your ministry.

Here’s a simple practice to say in order to take the necessary time to “think” before answering questions.  Just simply reply, “I’ll get back to you on that.”

Don’t say yes, don’t say no, just simply say, “I’ll get back to you.” No matter how urgent the request, you can always ask for a bit of time to think, even if it’s only an hour. It will help you to take a step back, get out of your primary emotional response and think it through rationally.

When taking the time to think, ask yourself these questions to help you decide if you or your ministry should say yes or no to a request:

  • Does it need to be done at all? I always check if it corresponds with the mission and vision of our ministry.
  • Am I the best person to do this? Do I have the gifts to do this, is this my task or role, or is someone else far better suited?
  • Do I have the time to do it?
  • If not, does it have priority over other things on my to do list?

Use the little diagram below to help you navigate through the thinking process.  It will make a profound impact and will become a viable tool for answering questions and making decisions.

In short, TAKE TIME TO THINK!