Tag Archive - selfish

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How to Manage the Tension between Work and Rest

In the beginning, even before the fall of mankind, God created both work and rest (you can check out Genesis 1-3 for all the details). Both were helpful, both were holy, and both were enjoyed by and benefited man. After the fall of mankind everything was messed up, including mankind’s ideas and inclinations about work and rest. This tension still plagues us today, including church leaders. Our tendency in different seasons of leadership is to lean into one or the other more than we are designed to. And if not caught early it can do damage to our souls and ultimately the ministries that we are charged with leading.

Work

  • Personal ambition: When our ambition for growth as church leaders surpasses our ambition for God, there’s a problem.
  • High Expectations: When fast-charging and high-driving church leaders have set their vision and expectations higher for themselves and their ministries than God does, there’s a problem.
  • Selfish Gain: When we become consumed by our work and our identity as church leaders becomes rooted in our work rather than in God, there’s a problem.

Rest

  • Discouragement: When church leaders fall into discouragement and shrink back because things aren’t going the way they think they should be going, there’s a problem.
  • Emotional Weight: When church leaders pick up and begin to carry the emotional weight of the team, the outcomes of the vision, and the expectations of people in the church, there’s a problem.
  • Laziness: When church leaders over spiritualize the concepts of faith and dependency upon the Holy Spirit to work and avoid working hard themselves, there’s a problem.

When our hearts call too much for one or the other, something is off in us. We’ve been chasing after something that we were never intended to pursue. It should be an indicator to us that it’s time to return to the mission and return to God.

Photo Credit: CyboRoZ via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation

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Why Selfish Players Lose But Sometimes Win

If you’ve ever been on a team you know that from time to time you’re going to come across a ball-hog. You know the type, a selfish player whose goal is to become a human highlight reel in order to get to the next level. They don’t care about the team or respect the game. In fact they use the game and the team to get what they want, which usually means notoriety and the admiration of others. The sad truth is that this doesn’t just show up on the field or on the court but it shows up on church staff teams as well.

1. Selfish Players Wear Everyone Out

It’s exhausting to have a selfish player on the team. They have to talk in every meeting, their idea has be the one that is used, they have a tendency to blame others when things go wrong, and the coach has to handle them with kid gloves. An exorbitant amount of energy gets put into managing around these players’ and it’s usually tolerated because of the talent they bring to the table. But the reality is no matter how appealing it may look to have that talent on the team, eventually the price you pay in keeping them on the team ends up wearing out the team.

2. Losing with a Selfish Player Accelerates the Process

Losing is no fun for anyone. But it gets worse when you have a selfish player on the team. When you have a player that has to be the center of attention and the game starts slipping away and you begin to lose, that player simply becomes more of who they already are. They pass less, they take shots earlier in the shot clock, and they get visibly upset with other players. If you’ve got a selfish player on the team and the game goes south, everyone else on the team will have the tendency to give up and throw the towel in faster due to the lack of morale on the team.

3. Selfish Players Win Sometimes

You can win with a selfish player. In fact depending on how talented the player is you can win a lot of games with a selfish player. But you can’t win championships with a selfish player. Players on championship teams have to give up their own interests and ego and become a role player on the team for the betterment of the team. Many churches are stuck because they have an incredibly talented player that has carried the team on their back, but has taken them as far as they can on their own. To move forward will mean taking a new approach and playing a role on the team instead of carrying the team.

4. Great Players Make Good Players Better

The greatest single determining factor between a good player and a great player is that good players play their role and carry their load, while great players not only play their role but they elevate everyone else’s game by the way they play. They find the open player in transition; they know how to distribute the ball and who to get it to in what situation. They know when to push the tempo and when to slow things down. When things go wrong they gather the team together and look everyone in the eye and encourage the team to get on the same page. They don’t shrink back under pressure and in clutch moments not only do they want the ball, but the other players on the team want them to have the ball.


Posted in Leadership, Staffing

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Top Posts of 2013 #2: “Why Nice People Kill Churches”

This post checks in at  #2 in 2013. The post went viral, being re-posted on multiple sites…not just due to the title, but the leadership concept it addresses.

For the last 12 years I’ve had the incredible opportunity to serve on the Sr. Leadership Teams of some of the nations fastest growing and leading churches. Over that time I’ve observed time and time again one of the most destructive inclinations to church growth and the advancement of the Gospel is the simple fact that people on staff at most churches are simply too nice to each other.

5 Ways Nice People Hurt the Mission of the Church

1. Nice people have a tendency to hire people that they like rather than people who are going to advance the mission of the church. In other words it’s okay to lose as long as you’re losing with friends.

2. Nice people avoid conflict and by so doing don’t mine the best ideas out of their teams.

3. Nice people keep people on their teams well after the work has surpassed their capacity. This not only slows the mission but it exposes the weaknesses of and hurts the very person they’re trying to protect.

4. Nice people don’t confront the brutal facts and as a result “hallway conversations” take place and a lack of unity begins to undermine the mission.

5. Nice people sacrifice the flock for the sake of one sheep. This happens every time you let that one person sing who has no business singing (if you’ve been around church-world for any length of time you know exactly what I’m talking about).

Let me be clear, what I’m not saying is that the staff at your church shouldn’t be nice to each other. But when being nice begins to trump being honest because you don’t want to experience the discomfort of a difficult conversation, that’s not nice…that’s selfish. And when that begins to happen everybody loses.

In his new book “The Advantage” Patrick Lencioni says it this way, “Firing someone is not necessarily a sign of accountability, but is often the last act of cowardice for a leader who  doesn’t know how or isn’t willing to hold people accountable.” 

There’s a strong principle and clear message in there that many church leaders need to take some time and wrestle to the ground.


Posted in Leadership