Gain the courage to say no…
You need that ability…
It will save you future headaches and heartaches. It will protect your family. It will protect your leadership. It will protect your time to do what you were called to do as a leader. It will help you be more effective.
I believe in empowering people. I believe in helping people as much as I can. I believe in saying yes, whenever I can.
- If you know it is not going to work…
- If you know you can’t support it…
- If you know the answer is no…
- If you know you don’t have the time…
- If you know it’s a distraction from the vision…
- If you know, deep in your leader gut, that the best answer is no…
If you’re going to say it eventually anyway…
Say it now.
- Don’t lead people on
- Don’t try to appease them.
That’s what leaders do.
Do you have trouble with no?
Most parents want to develop a close, lasting bond with their children that goes beyond the years a child lives in the home. Having a relationship with children that transcends time begins early in a child’s life as the heart of the child bonds with the heart of the parent.
I’m happy to say my boys are grown, but they are two of my best friends. And, they call or text frequently to discuss life and seek my input. I couldn’t ask for more. I realize now there were some things we did along the way that built the bond we have even today. Some of it may have been “accident” on our part. They don’t have to be for younger parents.
Here are a 7 tips to help build strong, lifetime relationships with children:
Choose activities to do together that they enjoy. It’s a great plus if they enjoy your hobbies, but you will have better success in connecting if you do the things with them they enjoy most. Don’t try to create a clone of you. When they begin making choices for themselves, learn to love their activities and play times.
Don’t force yourself on your children. As children get older and begin developing outside interests, do not be the parent who always has to tag along. Be there if you are invited, but allow your children some freedom to explore. As they get older, welcome other adults you trust to invest in them. This is one of the great values of being active in a local church. Men I admire made huge impacts on my boys.
Remain accessible to your children always, but especially during busy or stressful times. Children cannot handle or understand stress the way adults can. They just know when they want or need their parents. Make sure you are available as much as possible when the desire strikes them. We made sure our boys knew they were never an interruption and we were always there when needed. That meant building our schedule around time planned with them. The busier I was and more stressful life became, the more I protected that time.
Communicate on their level and with their interests. Understand the language of their age and learn about the things they have interest in doing. I never knew much about soccer or wrestling, but one of our boys did, so now I do. Wanna wrestle?
Learn to love their friends. This is huge and will show that you value their choices in friends and relationships. We sometimes had to gently guide them and we even distracted them from some friends, but we wanted them to love everyone. Be patient with them. They should not be expected to have the maturity of an adult yet. They will make mistakes and will not always make the decisions you want them to make. Help them form good values then honor their ability to make choices while you are still there to help them recover when they make bad ones. They’ll need good decision making skills for a lifetime.
Slow down. Life races by and before you know it the kids are gone. Believe me when I say this…it passes fast. Too fast. In your race to provide them all the right opportunities, all the stuff, make sure you give them what they need most…YOUR TIME.
Be intentional. When my boys were young I didn’t have a smart phone. I worked hard running a business that I owned, was active in dozens of professional and spiritual activities, including holding public office, but I rarely missed a ballgame or practice. Their time went on my calendar first. FIRST. And, I had no problem saying no to other opportunities.
To be clear, none of these are excuses to give children everything they want or to allow them to set the standards for your home. I believe parents should parent. For more on my parenting philosophy here read other posts under the category of PARENTING. Connecting with children in a way that lasts beyond the years they must connect with you, however, begins early in the child’s life and takes a consistent effort on the part of the parents.
What ideas or ways can you add to build a lasting connection with children?
I am in Orlando as this post is written. I come here in April for the Exponential Conference. If you’re into church planting or revitalization, don’t miss this conference next year.
While I am here I always run. I love to run in this city. One thing that stood out to me this time in Orlando is that most everyone here has tinted windows. The sun shines a lot. It makes sense. Some are tinted more than others, but almost all are tinted. Some are tinted so much that you can’t see the driver. That’s hard for us runners.
But car windows are tinted…
Where I come from, highly tinted windows are illegal. And, so when someone’s windows are highly tinted, people often assume you’re hiding something.
Selling drugs…in a gang…you know.
But almost everyone has them in Orlando…
And I don’t think all of them are selling something. At least not something illegal.
As I was running this week though, the thought occurred to me.
All of us…everyone of us…in every city…regardless of where you live…have tinted windows. To some extent.
We have tinted windows to our life.
Everyone has something to hide…
Something they’d rather everyone not know. Some secret. Some hidden pain. Some past mistake.
We all have tinted our windows. Some darker than others…But we all have a story we are hiding…or trying to hide.
Some we hide better than others.
That’s okay. Not everyone needs to know all our story. Sometimes it’s none of their business. Many times it’s none of their business.
But, here’s my experience. All of us need someone who sees behind the tinted windows. All of us need some people in our life who know the whole story. All of us need someone who loves us, but is willing to shine a light into our darkest places.
All of us.
Who sees behind your tinted windows?
I am an introvert. Some people can question whether they are or not. I don’t. I’m certified in Myers Briggs, so I know the language well. I’ve studied the concept. It didn’t require much study though for me. I’m in the camp.
It means Sundays I’m more tired when I go home. It means I avoid certain crowds unless I have a clear purpose for being there. It means I run alone…and I’m okay with that. It means I’m probably harder to get to know that some people. I get all that. I own it. It’s me.
I’ve written before about the struggles of introversion in ministry (read that HERE) and ways I work to overcome those limitations (read that HERE). What surprises me is how misunderstood introverts are sometimes. There are a lot of false assumptions made when someone is introverted.
Here are 7 false assumptions made of me as an introvert:
I’m shy – That may be your word, but it’s not mine. I prefer purposeful for me. Others may call it something else. I talk when there’s a purpose. I’m not even afraid to do so. Three year olds are shy when they hide behind their daddy. That’s not me.
I need more courage – Why I oughta… (You’ll get that if you are a Moe Howard…Three Stooges fan.) Seriously, I “ain’t chicken” when I choose not to speak. I’m just being comfortable.
I’ve got nothing to say – Actually I have lots to say. Did you notice I blog almost every day? Do you see how often I update Twitter and Facebook? I have bunches to say. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t express it, but many times how I choose to communicate will be different than how others choose to communicate.
I’m dumb – Yea, in a lot of ways I am. But, in some ways I’m smarter than the guy who never quits talking. You know the one. I am less likely to say the thing I wish I hadn’t said, because I didn’t think before I talked. It happens, but not as often as it might for some.
I am arrogant or don’t like you – Honestly, I love everyone. Or at least that’s my Biblical command and personal goal. Whether or not I talk to you will not be a good determination of whether or not I like you. It might even mean I respect you enough to listen more than speak. Maybe.
I need you to talk for me – Ummm….actually I’d rather you not. Now that said, I sometimes let my wife talk for me. She’s good at it too. But, if I have an opinion I think needs sharing, I’ll speak for myself. Or regret later than I didn’t. But, either way, please don’t try to be my voice.
I need to change, mature, grow as a person or leader – There’s nothing wrong with me. I’m just quieter than some. Actually, there are lots of things wrong with me. Introversion isn’t one of them.
Those are some of the false assumptions that have been made of this introvert.
Introverts, what misunderstandings have been made about you?
I have a heart for leaders. Especially church leaders. I’d love to help others learn from my mistakes. In fact, that’s a huge motivation for this blog.
With that in mind…
Here are 7 simple leadership tips:
Fight fewer battles where the win doesn’t matter as much – Okay, honestly, this is hard, because usually people are bringing the battle to you. The petty complaints. The constant grumbling. But, it’s nothing new. Read the Old Testament. The key is to remember the over all vision. What’s the end goal. Go for that and don’t be distracted by the things that won’t matter in eternity.
Don’t try to duplicate as much as you emulate – The connotation of duplicate is to be just like. With emulate, you’re trying to match the level of success, in your individual context, but not necessarily achieve it in the same way. You’ll stress less about your progress this way. Trust me.
Lead with leaders – The more you surround yourself with people capable of leading others, the greater the impact your leadership can have.
Your downtime is gold – Don’t neglect it. Discipline yourself to build sufficient rest into your schedule.
Think marathon not sprint – You will have bad days. There will be critics. You will send a dumb email. You will say the wrong thing. You will plan a project that bombs. On those days, remind yourself of the bigger vision. Regroup. Rest. Recharge. Go at it again tomorrow.
Stop trying to control – You’ll seldom be able to anyway. When you do, people will either rebel or never live up to their potential. Control the vision, but almost everything else, you can release to the people around you.
Be authentic – Not partially authentic. Be totally authentic. People will trust you more if you are who you claim to be…always. Don’t try to make yourself bigger than you are. People can easily spot the margin between the portrayed you and the real you. And, the greater the margin the less you’ll build trust in those you hope will follow.
Any simple tips you would add?
I recently posted 10 dangerous paradigms in the church. Obviously, there are positive mindsets in the church also. I decided to share some from the perception of a pastor.
Here are 10 positive paradigms in the church:
We can do it Pastor – The “can do” attitude. Who can’t work with that?
Jesus will make a way – So, if that’s your paradigm, then all we have to do is follow Him…right?
It’s not about me – Wow! To hear someone say that…makes a pastor’s day.
Let’s walk by faith – Yes, let’s do. Because, without faith, it’s impossible to please God. At least, according to the Bible.
What can I do to help? – Imagine if everyone showed up at church ready to do whatever it took to make the day work. Just imagine. We can dream, can’t we?
We need some change around here – I think we do. I think you’re right. I think I’ll clone you. Sustained momentum always requires change. Always.
I know we need to talk about money – You do? Really? You recognize that it takes money to operate a church? Wow! Are you contagious?
It’s none of my business – Okay, this is a tough one, but seriously, is it? Do you really need to know everything, or do you just like information? I wonder if we moved forward with less information if we would be closer to walking by faith…which in essence means we go without seeing… Just wondering.
I’m excited about trying something new – By excited, do you also mean you’ll support it? And speak positively about it? Even behind the pastor’s back? Because, if you do, I’m gonna hug you. Seriously.
This church is awesome! – It’s simple, but it builds momentum. Believing in the church, it’s leadership, and it’s potential is a key to welcoming people who will later feel likewise.
As a pastor, those are 10 positive paradigms I would share. I realize they aren’t for everyone. But, which one would you most like to see as a pastor?
What positive church paradigm would you add to my list?
Are you struggling to understand faith?
To understand faith I always have to put it in terms of a relationship. When we speak of a Biblical faith, we are speaking in terms of having faith…trusting…based upon our relationship with God through His son, Jesus Christ.
With that in mind…based on my understanding of Scripture…
Here are 10 considerations of understanding Biblical faith:
1. Faith is defined for us as “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1-2)
2. Faith believes even when it makes no sense to believe, not because of the proof before you, but because of the trust you place in the object of your faith.
3. Faith is based on the will of that person in whom you place your faith, not my will. You can have faith that the person you love most will never hurt you, for example, but whether they do or not is up to their will, not yours.
4. Biblical faith is in a person, the person of God. (God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit…they are One.) Faith is not in me or my abilities, but on God and His abilities.
5. When Jesus used the illustration of moving mountains He was giving an example of the power of God and how we should place our whole faith in Him. He was not talking about the power of my ability to have faith, but rather the power of the One in whom we place our faith. If God’s will is to move a mountain, He will surely move it. You can even ask Him to by faith. (Remember, Jesus also said, “apart from me you can do nothing”.)
6. When we talk about faith in God then, we are talking about His will, not our will. That’s how Jesus taught us to pray….”Our Father, who is in Heaven…thy will be done…” Faith is based on God’s agenda, not my agenda. It’s not your ability to move mountains. It is God’s ability. It’s not your will to move mountains; it’s God’s will.
7. Faith is based on the promises of God, not our hopes or desires. When you struggle with faith, you don’t doubt your ability; you doubt God’s ability. Sometimes we get upset that God hasn’t done something we think He should do, but God never promised to do it. It may have never have been His will.
8. When you pray by faith then, you are praying that you trust God to do His will in your life, based not on your wishes or desires, but on what He has promised to do. Some things we can always have faith that God will do, because he has promised to do them, such as “love you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3), “work all things for good” (Romans 8:28) and “never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:8). We can’t always know that God will heal every sickness, for example, because He’s not promised that He will. In fact, He promised we would have trials, but that throughout it all we could rejoice in our sufferings.
9. God is trustworthy…worthy of our faith. I love how The Message Version puts 1 Thessalonians 5:24, “The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he’ll do it!” Do what? His will. Faith in the person of God is based then on your trust that He is who He says He is and He will do what He says He will do.
10. When your faith lines up with God’s will, you can absolutely, positively, unquestionably claim by faith that God’s will be done. One of the reasons it is so important to know God personally is so that we will know His will, so we can know how to pray in God’s will. (Romans 12:1-2)
What would you add in understanding Biblical faith?
(This is a revision of a previous post.)
I was at a gym recently on an elliptical.
At the entrance there is a table with sign up sheets for various machines. People reserve their space in advance a week at a time. On that particular day, there was no sign up sheet for Monday. There was a sheet for other days, but not for Monday.
What took place for the next 20 minutes was humorous, but illustrated a great principle.
Half a dozen gym members debated the missing sign up sheet:
Maybe Monday is a holiday.
It’s not a holiday that should affect the gym.
No, it’s not a holiday.
There may be an error
No, because they have Tuesday and Wednesday
I bet they’re saving that day for something special
Yea but they usually put a sign on the door
And what about us regulars?
It’s probably a private party.
I hate when they do that.
Has it happened before.
I think so.
It’s not fair.
We should complain.
After 20 minutes of similar dialogue, one wise person said, “I’ll just go ask.”
She did. It was a clerical error. Problem fixed. Problem solved. In a matter of minutes.
Unfortunately, I see this kind of thing all the time in leadership and life. Even in families and other relationships.
- Rather than complain
- Rather than make up your own scenario
- Rather than stir gossip
Sometimes, all you need to do is ask.
Especially in relationships…relationships of all kinds…when it involves people…when miscommunication or misunderstanding is possible…and it always is…