Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Venturing Out with Sound Leadership

Plot Line 2/7:  The Voyage and Return
Sin of Small Group Ministry 2/7: Lack of Point Leadership

I am combining two recent helpful works, the first from a writer's blog and the second from a ministry book--both feature 7 concepts, which I am shoving together in my mind and on the blog.

The second story line from the article is voyage and return.  Setting off from a base of operations to another place and then turning around to come back.  This is a perfect picture of ministry effort without leadership--the second sin of ministry.  

A sound leader moves forward in a determined direction, with a destination (purpose) in mind.  Going out and coming home is a vacation not an adventure.  It's a temporary departure from the established practices, but the biggest emphasis is temporary.  The return is what characterizes the voyage absent a leader.

Outcomes matter, where are we going and why?  What does this look like in 6 months, in a year?  What's a win?  

Sometimes people of faith just put an idea on the table, even a really good idea and think if it is God's will it will happen.  Yet, God does not intend for us to be spectators, I think God's will is for us to adopt best practices, hard work, skills and gifts and all of the qualities of effective leadership and planning.

In her essay, An Expedition to the Pole, Annie Dillard  describes the provisions of a nineteenth century group of explorers headed out to find the North Pole, and then return home.  Each ship had an auxiliary steam engine and a 12 day supply of coal for the projected 2-3 year voyage.  Instead of additional coal each ship had a 1,200 volume library, a hand organ, china place settings for officers with cut glass wine goblets and sterling silver flatware.  No one had special clothing for the Artic only the uniforms of Her Majesty's Navy.   Years later Inuit Eskimos came across the frozen remains of the expedition, men dressed in their finery and pulling lifeboat laden with place settings of sterling silver and some chocolate.   Their naivete is almost beyond comprehension but perhaps it will teach and warn us to lead a ministry or life expedition with wisdom and work and purpose with the end in mind.

It's true in family life too--what is the goal of parenting, of partnering in a healthy marriage.  Where are these relationships going, what should they look like in a year, in 10 years?  Example:  as mother, what do I want my daughters to look like in decade?  If I want them to be women of faith, am I moving them in that direction purposely?  Am I teaching them prayer if I want them to pray?   Am I modeling study, showing them the blessing that comes from time in scriptures?   Do they see regular generosity, and do I point them in that direction in their lives?

In ministry, can I point to the purpose and the person to move the work?  So often in ministry work the clear direction is lost in the good intention.   The vast majority of ministry work is a good idea, with the intent of helping someone somewhere.   That goodness is not enough.  The discipline of determining effectiveness is just as necessary.

Task one of a point leader, asking and answering important pointed questions before setting off on a new voyage so it is not just a vacation.

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About Me

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Roswell, GA
Loves to find the answers to three questions of a sound Bible study: what does it say, what does it mean, what difference does it make?