Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fleshing out Transformational Leadership

James MacGregor Burns in his classic book Leadership, wrote about transformational leadership. Burns defined a transformational leader as someone who “recognizes and exploits an existing need or demands of a potential follower.”He further developed transformational leaders as people who “looks for potential motives in followers, seeks to satisfy higher needs, and engages the full person of the follower.”The desired results of transformational leaders are a shared relationship of motivation and elevation that changes both the leader and the follower into moral agents.

Churches today are in need of leadership with a vision of seeing greater potential in individuals and thus desiring to transform them by developing the greater good in people. Transformational leadership in church will allow people to be transformed into a person that reflects Christ and displays the power of the Holy Spirit. When a person experiences true transformation, the areas of their life that are in need of change or improvement will become evident. Transformation takes place through a personal relationship with the leader inspiring and shaping the follower into the person God desires them to become.

Church leaders must have a heart of transforming people to more reflect Christ. Henry Blackaby in his book Spiritual Leadership challenges the leader’s goal. He writes “The primary goal of spiritual leadership is not excellence, in the sense of doing things perfectly. Rather, it is taking people from where they are to where God wants them to be.” Therefore, the work of transformational leaders is to assist people in developing a vision of what God wants them to be. Transformational leaders work with people to encourage them to move from where they are towards where God would have them be on their spiritual journey.

I pray that as a person, husband, father, and pastor that I will be a transformational leader. My heart is to be the kind of leader that moves people along on their spiritual journey. I want to challenge people to reflect Christ more in their daily spiritual journey. Transforming people to be more like Christ as they lead others.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Transformational Leader - Part 1 of a bunch

I am working on my Doctorate of Ministry (DMIN) from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. I have finished all of my classwork and I am now on the final part, the project report. The project is the culmination of all the classwork for the DMIN. Here I take a topic and build a project around that topic. For me, the topic is transformational leadership, and my project is a 8 week study for a group of leaders on the equipping of transformational leadership skills.

James MacGregor Burns was really the first to write about transformational leadership in his classic book Leadership back in 1978. I have a been reading books, articles, and journal entries on the topic. There is a number of material in the business world but not a whole lot written in the church world. In fact Ed Stetzer and Thom Rainer are writing a book now called Transformational Church that is due to be out in June of 2010. You can look at that here. So, I am having to take secular world material and synthesize with the church material out there to put together my project. I am enjoying.

One of the articles that I came across today was by a guy named David Burkus. He is a professor at Oral Roberts and he wrote about the motivation of leadership based on some material by Bruce Winston who is a professor at Regent University. You can read the article here The article was challenging to me as a pastor. I can see where there are times where the motivation can change a little based on the circumstances that surround the situation. The more I study Transformational Leadership I become increasingly convinced that the motivation that should be on We.

We are on a journey together. I know organizations and churches now that have leadership where the motivation seems to be Me. The ministry, the vision, and the direction are all set, established, and decided by the Leader. The people in the church and on staff just do it, because Me is the Leader. While I see where there are times for that, what happens is when that is the perpetual leadership motivation then everyone else looses input and influence. The entire structure of the organization and the church is held up and together by the Charismatic Leader. To me that is an unhealthy leadership model to be continually present in an organization.

Most Charismatic Leaders I know don't like scrutiny because their motivation is based on themselves not on the good of the organization and the people. With Leadership comes scrutiny. Some call it accountability. A leader cannot lead effectively if they do not have people that are constantly evaluating them. If they cannot stand the scrutiny, accountability, or the evaluation, then they do not need to become a leader. As the kids say, "If you cannot stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." The leaders must be confident in their leadership skills but be sharpened by the people around them.

Leadership must have a relational basis between the leader and the follower or there will be a disconnect and the motivation will quickly become Me.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Gardening and Ministry

Over the past few weeks my neighbor, Jonathan Foster, and I have put in a garden at the house. We have been under the supervision of our children as to the quality assurance of our garden. We have planted lettuce, onions, potato's, arugala, strawberries, broccoli, carrots, and cabbage. As Jonathan's dad put it, "that is not food, that is what food eats." We are having a blasts. Every afternoon when it is dry we head out back with the children to look at our garden to see what has grown. I find great excitement in going out and checking on the garden.

You know I never grew anything in a garden until I planted the seeds. Imginge if Jonathan and I in conjunction with our children went out to "check on the garden," and we had not planted anything. We would just head out and stare at dirt, some weeds, and a few grass sprigs. Interesting, it is real tough to grow a garden when you have not planted any seeds.

This all hit me a few weeks ago when a NAMB Missionary came to share at our church. He said that North America has around 320 million people total with roughly 250 million of them now knowing Christ. He made a piercing comment that hit me squarely in my heart as a pastor. He said, "Churches come together on Sunday mornings expecting to reap a harvest, but there has been no seeds planted in the community throughout the week." So true. We gather together for worship on Sundays and we look around wondering where are the new people and where are the lost. There is none. Perhaps we gather together to "check on the garden" and there is nothing growing because we have not planted any seeds. No seeds, no new fruit.

Producing fruit is the responsibility of the church. Jesus said in John 15 that He is the true vine. He reminds us that His father is the vinedresser that prunes that we may bear more fruit. However, ten times in the next seven verses he tells us to abide in Him. He says in verse 8, "My Father is glorified by this, that you bear MUCH fruit, and so prove to be My disciples." When the body of Christ produces fruit God is glorified, and we prove to be the disciples of Christ. He even goes further and says in verse 7, "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it be done for you." WOW! It is amazing to think that when the word of God so saturates our lives and we so closely abide in Christ that when are prayers aline with His will we can ask whatever and God will do.

Church, we are to beare fruit so that God will be glorified. We bear fruit by going out and sowing seeds. We sow seeds by involvoing ourselves in the community and the world every day. I pray that we will not come to church to "check on the garden" without being actively involved in sowing seeds of the gospel in our home, our community, our state, and our world. May we be seed planters and so become fruit bearers!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Where I am in life right now

I really at a place in my life right now where God is teaching me about the pruning process that he talks about in John 15. Interesting, we often think of the pruning process as this mean thing that God does in our lives because we have this horrible hidden sin our life. It is like we think God is out to get us because we are bad and not confessing sin. So he punishes us with difficulty and pain until we get back on the path that he wants. Right? I have been there. Granted sometimes he does have to prune us to show us areas of our lives that we have sinned, but other times he just wants us to grow.

In fact. Read John 15. I point out verse two, "while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." The issue is not that the branch is not producing fruit, rather the issue is the desire of the Father, who is the gardener, for the branch to produce even more fruit. That should be our hearts desire even more than anything. Simply put, produce more fruit. I pray that in my life I see the pruning process as God saying to me, "hey David, I see you are producing fruit, I just desire for you to produce more fruit and this is what I have to do in your life to make that happen." Hebrews 11:12, " No discipline seems please at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."

That is where I am right now in life. I want my life to count for more. I don't want my life to be simply remembered by what I did not do. Rather, I want my life to be remembered by what I did do in kingdom work. I want my life to count in kingdom work and that is done by producing fruit. Pruning is simply a means to and end, it is not the end.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Psalm 145:3

Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised, And His greatness is unsearchable.
The Lord is great! I look at the landscape of my life at what the Lord has done for me and I am simply in awe. I am amazed at the wonderful wife that He has blessed me with. Her heart and passion for other people and the glory of the Lord is simply amazing. I am thankful for her more each day. The three children that we have together make me smile! I am humbled that the Lord has allowed us to be entrusted with raising and shepherding the hearts of three precious children and soon to be four! They bring such joy to our lives and I love being their daddy.
I am also thankful for the church that Lord has called us to serve with in ministry. They are great people that love the Lord so much. I have told many people that there is not a better church in the world to be our first church to pastor than First Baptist Austell. They have allowed me to be me and grow as a person and as a pastor. Love them!
I chose Psalm 145:3 as my blog title becuase this verse has come to mean so much to me over the last few months. The Lord is great and worthy of all of our praise!! The greatness of God is simply amazing and I see his greatness written in every aspect of my life. I have so many thoughts and ideas that run through my mind during the day. I want to use this blog as a an opportunity to share my heart about the greatness of the Lord Jesus Christ.