Just a Matter of...Time  

Posted by Mike Sharrow in , , ,

This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place… Habakkuk 2:3

Perhaps one of the most persistent hindrances to effective leadership is a function of time tolerance. In a volatile environment, much value and emphasis can be placed on "JIT Decision Making" (Just in Time) or jumping at just the right time. Yet, how often our preconceptions about time as a function of vision realization handicaps us from truly realizing a certain future.

God anointed David to be king of Israel...15 years before it actually came to pass. For 15 years David was in a circuitous journey towards a very clear point in a very unclear process. Jesus was actively ministering for just 3 years before the Father's ordained time was upon Him to depart...why not swap and have David on the throne in 3 years and Jesus presently teaching for an extra 12?

It's a peculiar discipline, this learning to trust God's vision despite uncertainty as to the timeline and path. It's uncomfortable to hold in tension the dynamic of being "hands open" to changes in the plans as we know them while resolved to a vision that may seem elusive in the day-to-day.

What visions has God given you that you short-circuited out of impatience?

What discoveries have you experienced of God's faithful working out of His plan well outside your preconceived timelines and context?

Economic Challenge + Leadership Substance = Excellent Opportunities for Change  

Posted by Mike Sharrow in , , ,

Economic times are notoriously uncertain. Job losses, financial devaluations, banks shuddering, capital constricted and the general haze of uneasiness can be paralyzing. What are you doing in 6 months? Nobody knows how to answer that question anymore. Most organizations and individuals are playing a short game until things "stabilize."

The truth is - change is constant, uncertainty is always dominant (just veiled by trends), and risk is always an abundant resource. Adversity certainly demands reorientation. Uncertainty demands clarity. If necessity is the mother of invention, crisis is the mother of leadership. If there was ever a time that the church needed to rise up and lead well in a season of crisis it is now. This is a time of underscored urgency to lead effectively and diligently.
Now, here's where we need to work smarter not harder to take advantage of an event like The Leadership Summit: stretch your dollars. Why should you, your team, or leaders you invite pay more than they have to? Why not help everyone you know stretch limited resource dollars - and hopefully create the opportunity for more people to experience the leadership infusion for the same total cost!
Here are some things to know:
1. Register HERE
2. If you register before 3/31 you'll have access to the cheapest rates EVER
3. Students/Faculty/Administration (at any level) can register for over 50% off ($75)!!
4. Military (active/retired/reserves/spouse) can register for just $95
5. Groups - 10+, 25+ and 50+...lots of incentives
6. Magazine Deals - find an ad in Christianity Today, Leadership Journal and others for promo codes that can save $10 or more off of each registration
7. Bottom Line - don't let $$$ stand between you and advancing your leadership quotient (LQ), or a friend and theirs, or your team and it's collective LQ. Contact Mike Sharrow for ideas if you're trying to get someone to Summit but hitting a hurdle.
How will you lead in these times? How will you stretch Kingdom resource dollars to benefit entire organizations, local churches, and the region?

Guest Blogger: You've Been Called...So That!  

Posted by Mike Sharrow in , , ,

Guest Blog by Wesley King (thanks Wes!)

What is the monetary value of your human body? Some researchers, with too much time on their hands, have estimated that the monetary value of the elements that comprise your body is about $4.50. Can you believe that? Even with the recent changes, that's still not enough to buy a cup of coffee and a pastry at Starbucks!

But as with most things, when I ask God the value of my human body He gives me a completely different answer. God reminds me through the Psalms that I have been wonderfully and fearfully made. Genesis helps me understand that the very breath of God flows through my lungs. Colossians teaches me that by and for Christ Jesus I have been created. Revelation reveals to me that I have been created for His pleasure. In Galatians, the Holy Spirit illuminates to us that God has called us...so that...

So that, what? Moses was called by God so that He could lead His people out of Egypt into the Promised Land. Joshua was called by God so that he could lead the congregation of Israel. Esther was called by God so that the Jews would be saved from the hands of a mad-man. John the Baptist was called by God so that he could be a voice in the wilderness preparing the way for the Savior. Mary was called by God so that the Savior of the world could become flesh and dwell among us; secure redemption; abundant life. Paul was called by God so that he might preach Jesus among the Gentiles.

As a Christ-follower, each of us has been called… so that we can lead others in the fulfillment of a God-redemptive purpose. He has called you to influence others with the transforming power of Christ Jesus. He has called you to lead where you are.

But you may say, “I’m not a leader!” And I would reply, “That’s simply not true.” I believe that we are all leaders. One definition of a leader is someone who has influence. And surely, in many areas of your life, you are a person of influence; a leader.

As you embrace the fact that you are a leader you’ll find yourself wrestling with the gift you have been given by God. You will realize your insufficiency. You’ll probably come to the sober reality that in and of yourself you are incapable.

And that’s the point where your greatest leadership achievement is realized. Make no mistake about it: the influence you steward has been fore-ordained by the hand of God. It is not His plan for you to be a renegade acting on your own compulsions. Rather, His desire is for you to live fully in Him so that His purpose is realized through the effective stewardship of His leadership gift. The gift of leadership is a huge responsibility. Remember, you have been called…so that!

As you lead, you will soon realize the need to pursue the advancement of your leadership gift so that Christ’s redemptive influence will be potently experienced. Bill Hybels suggests four ways through which you can grow your leadership:

1. Read everything you can on improving your leadership.
2. Go where leadership is taught.
3. Get around leaders that are better than you and ask them questions.
4. Lead something.

There are a variety of resources available to help you keep your leadership edge razor sharp, however, I believe there is none better than The Leadership Summit, a Christ-centered, Church leader focused annual two-day conference led by the best world leaders across many disciplines. The Summit is a high challenge and high intensity infusion that will stretch your thinking and provide practical skills to help you lead where you are.

The value of your life is far greater than the chemicals that are contained within. When you fully surrender and choose to live in the reality of who you are in Christ, you hold dear the one life in which you have to be a leader of redemptive potency. You value every task, conversation and seemingly coincidental encounters. As you lead, you experience the fulfillment of God’s promise to a hopeless world flowing through your surrendered life. You begin to lead like your life really matters. It does. You’ve been called…so that!

Leader Candy - book teasers  

Posted by Mike Sharrow in , , , , , , ,

I'm a big fan of Sam's Club and Costco. Not just because you can purchase ridiculous quantities of household items (the sense of power from walking out with 96 rolls of toilet paper, or 56 pounds of sugar) - but because of the sacred cow of wholesale box stores....SAMPLES. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the highly anticipated samples. Stopping by one of these seemingly harmless warehouses during the lunch hour can land you a practically free lunch. That is of course assuming you can sample without buying. Therein lies the hazard...samples stir up an appetite intentionally left unsatisfied by the free morsel betting that just enough of us will break down and buy a box of the "special."

I've gotten pretty good at putting mind over matter when it comes to edible temptations. I can walk away. I can eat the bite and leave the rest to imagination. Then there are these things called "Books," and they can just scuttle my boat. It is with this critical piece of intelligence in mind that the folks at Zondervan and Leadership Network have started dripping these "sampler" books that give you just a taste-test from a proverbial buffet of ideas...with a trail of breadcrumbs leading you back to Amazon.

Misery loves company, so with that, let me share with you all my latest source of temptation: the Leadership Network Innovation Series Sampler for the spring of 2009.

A Community Dying to Live?  

Posted by Mike Sharrow in , , , ,

I recently had the privilege of joining a gathering of some of the greatest champions of small group ministry from around the country for a strategic brain-storming session. One of the members, Ralph Neighbor, wrote the following comment on a discussion thread about Biblical Community which I found striking. I'm grateful for Ralph's passionate voice and efforts in the small group world. Check out this battle cry we should all allow to mess us up (like a sneeze, as Groeschel would say!)....

God and Satan both want the same thing. They both want to kill you, only for different reasons.

Satan wants to kill your effectiveness for the Kingdom of God. He does this by enticing each new believer to remain aloof from body life. He really doesn't care about what happens after we die; he just doesn't want us, while alive, to disturb his kingdoms in this world by being part of a cell group that reveals Christ's Presence, Power and Purpose.

God wants to kill everything in you that He cannot use for His Kingdom purposes. One thing is certain, he must kill you to the idea that you can exist in the Kingdom apart from body life. Entering the kingdom requires us to die to self, for in this new realm we "look not to our own interests, but also to the interest of others."

The Kingdom of God is all about community. Believers who never find themselves bonded (“baptized”) by the Spirit to fellow body members are not living a normal spiritual life. Becoming a part of a community that exists as the body of Christ is the launching of His reign in you.

The folly of evangelistic appeals is the emphasis on the "bridge" that takes us from the life of darkness to the life of the Kingdom. We talk about passing from death to life but never explain that this new life begins after we die to the old one.

We focus on the "new birth" without expanding what our new eyes must see: the Kingdom! Too many have been "born again" without any explanation about what the new life, joined to fellow body parts, involves. Thus we have thousands of pews every Sunday filled with disconnected body parts! It is ghastly!

I resent the parachurch teaching about every Christian having a “Quiet Time.” The idea that I have a “personal” time with God every day is a horrible obstruction to Kingdom body life. Instead, we need to approach the Throne as a body member, meaning that we bring our community of body parts into each fellowship hour with Christ. We are sensitive to His relationship, not only with me, but with me along with the other members of the body I am joined to by the Holy Spirit.

There is a heaven and earth difference between a "small group" and a literal Body of Christ. One is a tack-on to churchianity, the other is the most holy,sacred community on earth today. Its witness is the exposure of the indwelling Christ to the unbeliever who cries, "Wow! God is among you!" (1 Cor. 14:24-25).

Concept Cloud  

Posted by Mike Sharrow in ,

Wordle: Grace Point Leadership Discipleship Forum Word Cloud

The above "concept cloud" is produced by the great folks at www.Wordle.net and is an interesting reflection of the body of language throughout this blog. Fascinating to see what bubbles up.