10 Characteristics of God Leadership

One of my Top Posts of 2010 was a post entitled 10 Characteristics of Good Leadership. As I was typing it into the year-end review I “mistakenly” typed in the word “God” instead of the word “Good”. I decided to let this “mistake” become a post of it’s own. I’ve written before 10 Reasons I Admire the Leadership Principles of Jesus and 10 Tips to Doing Leadership the Jesus Way, but in this post, it would consider ways I should lead if I am leading in a God-inspired way.

Using my Evernote application, I quickly captured the first 10 characteristics that came to mind.  Basically I asked myself, if a person was leading the way God would inspire him or her, how would he or she lead? (I’m hoping you’ll add to my list.)

Here are 10 Characteristics of God Leadership:

  • Seeks God’s will before his or her own…
  • Humble…
  • Servant…
  • Walks by faith…
  • Patient…
  • Considers the interest of others better than his or herself…
  • Submits to authority…
  • Teachable…seeks wisdom from others…
  • Believes the impossible can happen…
  • Empowers others to do what he or she could do…

That’s a start…

What would you add to my list?

What Are You Leaving Behind to Start a New Year?

Yesterday we began a new series at Grace Community Church called Horizons.  Every year offers new opportunities…the question is are we prepared for what lies beyond the horizon?

I closed the message by asking these questions for consideration of what we need to leave behind as we move into a new year.

  • What do you need to leave behind this year?
  • What changes do you need to make?
  • What failures do you need to forget?  (Or at least let them work for you rather than against you?)
  • What disciplines do you need to take on?
  • Whom do you need to forgive?
  • What grudge do you need to release?
  • What burden do you need to give back to God?
  • Do you need to trust Him more this year
  • Do you need to serve Him…or serve others more this year?

What you won’t see in this message is the closing challenge.  It was more difficult to capture this for recording, but people were encouraged to write on an index card what they most need to leave behind in 2010…and not take with them into 2011.  It could be an answer to one of these questions or perhaps a secret sin, a worry, burden, anger, or fear…

What would you need to write on that card?

Writing a Life Plan for the New Year, Part 3

This week we are writing life plans for the coming year.  If you have missed the first two posts, read them HERE and HERE.  My desire is that we realize all the dreams and goals we have this year.   I’m convinced many of our resolutions…if we make them…are reachable with a little more intentionality and discipline. Many refuse to make resolutions, because they have repeatedly failed at keeping them. The purpose of these posts is to help you start the year on a good path towards reaching those goals.

Today we add another step.  Let me be honest.  This step is not as fun as setting goals…at least for people wired like me.  This is a little more difficult and will take a little more time to complete, but it is a vital step to the success of your plans.  Chances are good that if you fail to keep your New Year’s resolutions, not doing this step well is the more likely reason.

In this step, we will write some action steps, which will help us reach our specific goals.  The question you should attempt to answer here is: What specific action steps do I need to take to ensure I reach my goals?  Be specific here.  The more specific the action step the greater chance you have of completing it.  I continue to use the same hypothetical set of goals for illustration purposes.  Below you will see the specific goals followed by the action steps.

Lose 10 pounds – I want to lose 10 pounds by (Insert Realistic Date Here) by eating less and exercising more.

  • Exercise on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
  • Limit eating fast food at lunch to twice a week
  • Stop drinking diet soft drinks and drink more water
  • Keep track of calories, attempting to eat less than 2,000 calories per day

Improve my marriage communication – I want my wife and I to argue less about things, simply due to poor communication.  I want to understand her better and find more times when we are on the same page without arguing to get there.  I want us to be able to talk through issues without raising our voice at each other.

  • Write out questions for our date nights to answer together…
  • Read one marriage book together and do one Bible study together
  • Attend a marriage conference this year
  • Have a date night every week

Pay off my credit card - I want to pay off $7,000 worth of debt by (Insert Realistic Date Here).

  • Limit eating dinner out to once a week
  • Work to refinance the house
  • Write a realistic budget by Jan 30th. (Set a date approximately 30 days out)
  • Read the book “I Was Broke and Now I’m Not” by Joe Sangl

Read through the Bible - I want to be able to say I have read the entire Bible and finish all of it this year, without losing interest in three months.  I want to read the Bible consistently throughout the year at least 5 days per week.

  • Use one of YouVersion’s daily reading plan
  • Not check Facebook or email until I’ve read the Bible
  • Follow along with my small group curriculum
  • Get the YouVersion smart phone application

Write a book - I want to finish one of the many book ideas I have, have it completely written, and either have a publisher for the book or decide to self-publish. (These dates are for example. You set the realistic date that works for you.)

  • Write a book proposal by January 30th
  • Send out proposal letters to book publishers and agents by March 1st.
  • Outline book chapters by Feb 15th
  • Write a chapter every two weeks beginning March 1st

As I stated yesterday, during this step you may decide to alter some of your goals…or even scrap one of them…that’s okay…they’re your goals.  You are far more likely to follow through with goals you fully believe you can accomplish.

Tomorrow we add another step…yes…there’s just a little more to do to ensure success…

What do you think?  Is this difficult?   Is this helpful?

50+ Examples of “Successful Leadership Requires…”

I was thinking about successful leadership recently…actually, I think about the subject a lot… I guess because I want to be a successful leader and, because I know so many “leaders” who think they are, but aren’t successful.  You know the kind….  I talk weekly to ministers serving on church staffs around the country who are struggling with the leadership of the church where they serve, mainly because of the leadership…or lack thereof…coming from senior leadership in the church.  Perhaps you understand…

I decided, since I have such awesome Twitter followers…and most people have an idea of what they think successful leadership looks like…that I’d put the subject to the test. I simply asked: What does successful leadership require?

I primed the pump…so-to-speak…with these suggestions:

Successful leadership requires:

  • intentionality…
  • humility…
  • courage…
  • ingenuity…
  • discipline…
  • risk-taking…

My Twitter friends responded generously with these additions:

Successful leadership requires:

  • discipleship…
  • love for God and for those we are leading.
  • passion…
  • strength to do what is necessary to do…
  • a servant’s heart…
  • discernment…
  • tenacity…
  • authenticity…
  • faith…
  • grace…
  • perseverance…
  • love…
  • vision and an organized plan of attack…
  • perceptive and generous historians…
  • followers…
  • creating room for others to step into leadership…
  • service…
  • influence…
  • the ability to act and listen with humility…
  • sacrifice…
  • patience…
  • coffee…
  • understanding of self…
  • understanding your team’s strengths and managing to those…not weaknesses…
  • clarity of purpose…
  • earning & maintaining the trust of your followers…
  • servant’s heart…
  • partnership…
  • dedication…
  • vision…
  • commitment…
  • reaching for perfection and accepting flawed execution…
  • wisdom…
  • being called…
  • brokenness…
  • movement…
  • compassion…
  • a big heart…
  • total dependence on God…
  • knowing where he is going and takes others with him…
  • strategic thinking….
  • empowerment…
  • big dreams…
  • forward thinking…
  • dealing with criticism…
  • the ability to forgive and not hold grudges…

I’m sure there are many others…what would you add?

Successful leadership requires ___________.

How the World Demographics have Changed in 200 Years

This short video blows me away. It demonstrates the changes in the world over the last 200 years in age expectancy and poverty levels. I saw it on my friend Greg Atkinson‘s blog, but I thought it was worth sharing here also. This shows how things can change in a couple hundred years. That may seem like a long time, but in view of history, it’s fast paced. What are the implications here for the church? For the future economies?  For the way we do global trade, the global economy?  Can you see the change from America being a dominant superpower?  How will this impact this country’s future?  Do you see evidence of the change today?  How?  Just in my life the changes have been enormous.  Share your observations.

And notice the way he’s presenting information….Will we soon be preaching using this technology? Imagine sharing the story of the Bible like this?

Share your immediate thoughts after you watch this video.

3 Critical Aspects of Planning for Future Growth

The main battle for your organization’s long-term success doesn’t exist where you are…it exists where you are going…

Regardless of how great or bad something may be now, this moment will pass. The successes created today will soon fade and current struggles don’t necessarily indicate future victories.

Take writing for example. Unless you are Rick Warren or a handful of others, the best selling authors have to continue to create new material to stay on the best sellers list. In the business world, the hottest products are only as hot as the next great update or until another “greater” product is introduced. Momentum dies…people lose interest…motivation for what you are promoting fades and something new is needed to keep growing.

On the other hand, if an organization is struggling today that doesn’t always mean they’ll struggle tomorrow. Sometimes one big break turns things from stagnant to growing to thriving. Obviously attention has to be current to survive, but struggling organizations often need to focus even more intently on the future.

At some point, to remain viable and to succeed, organizations have to concentrate on days ahead, because a new day is coming. These principles are truer now than ever before. If an organization wants to be successful over time, then it must be winning the battle for the future.

Here are three aspects or planning for future growth every organization must have:

Strategic thinking – There must be a concerted effort placed on thinking about next steps for the organization. If strategic thinking isn’t a leader’s strength (although I think it’s difficult to lead well without this skill), someone in the organization must be delegated the task of strategically thinking forward. The future is coming…things are changing…and the organization must be able to strategically respond.

Flexibility and adaptability - Today’s leader must remain flexible enough to adapt to change quickly. Most likely the plans you set today will be altered in some way tomorrow. As a leader, you must be open to change personally and learn how to lead others to embrace change within the organization.

Staffing and team-building - An organization will only be as good as the people who make up the organization, so the future is dependent on attracting and retaining the best people. Great leaders are planning ahead for staffing needs, always on the lookout for good people and intentionally seeking to develop people in the organization. Great leaders allow people to explore, possess authority and become leaders. In today’s organizations, the strength of the team is the strength of the organization.

I have been on both sides of an organization…both striving and struggling…and I believe all three of these aspects are true in both scenarios. I see these three as critical to the future growth of any organization, but I’m still learning and organizations are changing every day, so help me here. What am I missing? What would you add to my list?

Gifts of Water Daily Update: Team Edmondson

I’m helping to raise money, along with some other great folks, for Gifts of Water. Gifts of Water operates with a simple concept. A lot of people giving a little money each can supply water for lots of people. Click on the link to learn more about this effort.

You can easily join my team HERE by sending one text which will cost you $10. I would love many of you to do this.

Today was my team’s turn to put out the daily update of how the campaign is going. Here’s the video we presented:

Thanks to our team Adam Bayne, Ben Reed, and Brandon Reed for helping put this video together.

DON’T FORGET…JOIN MY TEAM…..HERE

Name This Guy and other Cool iPad Applications

Here’s a fun way to tell you about a cool app or two…

What would you name this guy?  I created him with my Touch Board application on iPad.  I use this application to illustrate when I’m meeting with a few people or less and want to draw out what I’m trying to say.

If you are an iPad user, here are some of my other favorite apps:

Evernote  (I wrote about it HERE.)

YouVersion – The absolute best Bible application there is…period! I love the Tweet and Facebook share features.

World Factbook – I love culture and missions…this application helps me learn about different countries.

Amazon Kindle – I’m reading most of my books this way now. I love carrying all my books with me at the same time.

What are some of your favorite iPad…or iPhone applications? ….And don’t forget to help me name this guy…he needs a name!

Friday Discussion: Are You a Pet Lover…or Not?

Here’s my dog NaJe…She’s named for our boy’s Nathaniel (Nate) and Jeremy. She’s been a special dog.

In honor of my dog’s 11th birthday…Let’s talk pets today…

Are you a dog lover, a cat lover, or neither?

Do you like an inside dog, an outside dog, or neither?

Tell me about your pet….is he or she like a member of the family or just nice to have around? Is your spouse the bigger animal lover and you simply tolerate his or her wishes?

Let’s talk pets….

What’s the most exotic pet you’ve heard of someone having…or you have had? Anyone have one of THESE AS PETS? (See the 10 weirdest animal discoveries of 2010…did you know they are still discovering them?)

I saw this couple’s yellow snake pet in Chicago recently…would you consider this animal a pet? Be honest, does it bother you when someone calls a snake…or a ferret…or a _________….??? (I think their pet would like to eat my pet…)

Would you give a snake a name? What’s a good snake name?

BONUS QUESTION: What’s the best name for a dog? Are you like traditional names (Spot, Lucky, Max) or a creative name like NaJe?

Let’s talk pets.

Almost Isn’t Good Enough: Wayne Elsey’s New Book

As a leader, there are two qualities that really I value in other people, drive & selflessness. In most circles, these two words seem contradictory & rarely used in the same sentence. However, both of those words describe my good friend, Wayne Elsey. Wayne is the Founder & CEO of Soles4Souls. His drive has lead Soles4Souls to become one of the fastest growing non-profits in the country, but his attitude reflects total selflessness.  A few months ago, I interviewed Wayne in my leadership series. You can read it HERE.

This week, I had the opportunity to celebrate another milestone with Wayne, the release of his new book Almost Isn’t Good Enough After checking it out, I realized this book is unique. I can’t classify it as an inspirational, leadership, or business book because it incorporates all of those categories. Opening with Wayne’s story and; motivation to start Soles4Souls, the book goes on to share the principles that have driven the organization to where it is today. Each chapter highlights a principle that can drive your organization to fulfilling its overall mission.

The thing I love about Wayne and this book is the fact that, in the end, it all comes back to making a difference in the lives of others. Last night, Wayne told me that if this book could impact just one person to do something impactful, he’ll consider it a win. I know he genuinely means that.

The book officially releases December 26, which by way is the anniversary of Wayne’s calling to start Soles4Souls. Here is the cool part: For every copy sold, you will provide 10 pairs of shoes to a people group that you choose. So, buy 1 copy and give 10 kids their first ever pair of shoes. Buy 5 copies for you and your friends and provide a whole village with shoes. It’s a beautiful thing.

I would encourage you to pre-order your copy HERE. From now until December 26th, you can purchase 2 for $20 or 5 for $45.

This book is a powerful resource for every pastor, nonprofit leader, professor or business leader. At the same time, it is a must read for anyone who thinks they can’t do something to change the world. It’s a book that I would share with 50 year old CEOs and 18 year old college students.

Are you familiar with the work of Soles4Souls?

In honor of Wayne’s heart for good non-profit organizations, name one non-profit you are impressed with these days.