Here are 7 Ways to Show Appreciation to Your Favorite Bloggers

Blog word.

Every blogger has a reason for the time they spend blogging. It could be to express their personal thoughts and opinions, invest in others, or even to build an income. For me personally, it’s about building influence — so I can invest in others. I’m not bashful about saying that. I feel God has called me to invest in the next generation of church leaders and my blog is the front door to that opportunity. The more influence I build through my blog, the more people who read, the more I can fulfill one of God’s calls on my life.

Regardless of the motivation, the reaction every blogger appreciates from his or her reader is the same. All bloggers want to be appreciated for their work, whether an audience is 20 or 200,000 per month.

Here are 7 ways you can show appreciation to your favorite bloggers:

Read it – That’s rather obvious, but one reason bloggers keep track of analytic measures is to track the growth and consistency of readers. When you read a blog, you are paying a blogger the highest compliment. Even bloggers who blog for fun and say that the total number of readers doesn’t matter to them appreciate knowing someone has read what he or she wrote.

Promote it – If you enjoy a blog post, you show appreciation by helping the blogger promote that post. Whether you re-tweet, Stumble, post it on Facebook or forward it in an email, when you pass on the post you are applauding the blogger.

Comment on it – Comments are one of the truest measures of a blog’s impact on readers. It amazes me how engaged some bloggers are with their audience by the number of comments the simplest posts receive. All bloggers who allow comments enjoy reading them. The comments don’t even have to be positive (although they shouldn’t be cruel), but taking the initiative to leave one shows you read the post.

Link to it – The strongest investment you can make in a blogger you enjoy reading is to link to their post or blog on your blog, website or other social media outlet. When one links to a blog it helps build online strength and influence, and helps grow the audience of the blog. If you read the blog daily, linking to it shares that with the rest of the world, which is always appreciated by a blogger.

Implement the thoughts in it – Most bloggers are purposeful in the writing of their posts. When he or she pushes the “publish” button they hope the post will impact someone in some way. Whether the post simply brings a smile to your face or makes you think; or if it inspires you to make changes in how you live your life, if a post or the blog affects you personally, share this with the blogger.

Correct it (gently) – If you see bad links, poor grammar or spelling errors it’s okay to tell the blogger. In fact, it’s appreciated. The best bloggers are blogging frequently and are bound to make some mistakes. Just be gentle. Remember…you like this blogger!

Be loyal to it – Not every post will be a home run. If you like the author, keep reading on a consistent basis, thoroughly digesting the ones that you find the most interesting and skimming the ones that aren’t as appealing. If you enjoy a blog, you further the enjoyment and compliment the author by making sure you never miss a post. The easiest way do this is to add your favorite blogs to an automated reader or email feeder.

That’s some ways you show appreciation to a blogger. These things — that take so little time — keep most bloggers blogging. For those of you reading this blog on a regular basis, or even those who started with this post, thanks for reading. I really do appreciate each of you.

Are you a blogger? Why do you blog? What would you add to my list?

12 Indicators You’re NOT an Empowering Leader

Empower Definition Magnifier Showing Authority Or Power Given To Do Something

I love all the talk these days about delegation and empowering of leaders. I think it’s critical.

I wrote earlier about leading leaders and not followers (Read that post HERE), so I certainly agree with the trend.

I talk to people in ministry and business frequently, however, who are led by insecure, controlling leaders. It led me to write the following list.

Here are 12 reasons you may want to reconsider calling yourself an empowering leader:

  • Your number one answer is “NO”.
  • You have to personally approve every decision and control every outcome.
  • Everyone on your team works “for you” and not “with you”.
  • You use the word “I” more than the word “we”.
  • Your idea of delegation is telling people what to do, when and how to do it.
  • You say “Do this” far more than you ask “What should we do?”.
  • Nothing happens in your organization without your knowledge.
  • You consistently reverse the decisions of the team.
  • You think every great idea has to be yours.
  • You control information because information is power.
  • You get your feelings hurt if you hear about something after it has been implemented.
  • You crush people when they make a mistake.

I would say if you are guilty of four or more of these on a regular basis — maybe even two or more — you might want to evaluate if you truly are an empowering leader.

(BTW, I’m reading over the list — and checking it twice — to find out if I’ve been naughty or nice!)

What else would you add to the list?

How to Motivate a Leader — 7 Suggestions

motivation

Have you ever wondered how to motivate a leader?

It actually may not be as difficult as we make it out to be. Most leader-types share some common traits. They may lead entirely different — they may have different causes and interests — but most leaders are motivated by similar influences.

Here are 7 suggestions to motivate a leader:

Challenge – If there’s a task that would be a huge accomplishment, you’ll likely grab a leader’s interest. Be careful telling a leader it “can’t be done”, unless you want to see some motivation accelerate. (I wrote about this principle in my life HERE.)

Results – When a leaders celebrate a win, it fuels their desire for another. Leaders thrive on accomplishments.

Enthusiasm – Leaders are motivated by those who have a passion and drive to achieve. Make the vision exciting and compelling and you’ve likely got a leaders attention.

Risk – Tell a leader something is “dangerous” and he or she may be motivated to attempt it. Leaders love a challenge. In fact, one way to tell the difference in a potential good leader and a good manager is the amount of risk he or she is willing to assume.

Change – Leaders, by definition, are creators of movement. When things get stale, throw a little change in the mix, and a leader has a new incentive to lead. (I wrote more about this HERE and HERE.)

Chaos - It sounds strange, but even a little controversy or conflict can fuel a leader. When the situation is overwhelming — a leader goes to work. I wrote about this before HERE. Leaders love to fix things — improve them — make things better. It fuels them.

Dreams – Leaders are visionary. They want to accomplish something bigger than today. The bigger the dream, the bigger the motivation for the leader.

Are you a leader? Which of these motivate you most?

What would you add to my list?

To the Pastor Considering an Extramarital Affair

couple in distress

This is a guest post by my friend Dr. Jennifer Degler. Jennifer pulls no punches. But, she’s a difference maker in the Kingdom. I’m thankful for her influence.

Dear Pastor,

If you are a pastor considering or engaging in an affair, may I offer you points to ponder from a psychologist who has been honored to work with hurting people on all sides of an affair?

1) The biggest lie you are telling yourself is “I am attracted to my affair partner because of things that are wrong with my spouse.”

Here’s the truth: “I am attracted to my affair partner because of things that are wrong in me.” An affair will not fix what’s wrong with you. Having an emotional or sexual affair is using another person as a pain reliever. They are your Oxycodone, your drug of choice. You are using him or her as a distraction from your brokenness.

The bottom line: an affair is using another person in the worst way and calling it love.

2) You are thinking like a narcissist if you believe things like “The importance of my ministry should earn me a pass on church discipline or making apologies” or “I don’t need to step down from leadership” or “Exceptions should be made for me” or even “I am entitled to this affair.”

Bottom line: You are not that special. None of us are.

3) Your affair or “inappropriate relationship” (the latest euphemism) will come out eventually.

Don’t fool yourself; it’s going to be uncovered and made public. Thanks to social media, thousands of people will know within days.

Bottom line: Anyone who Googles your name will find your affair on the first page of search results.

4) When your secret is exposed, your family, friends, staff, and church members will feel violated, and those who have deeper emotional wounds from an alcoholic, abusive, self-absorbed, or absent parent or spouse will be affected in ways you can’t even imagine.

The current betrayal and abandonment they feel in reaction to your actions will stir up old hurts. They had grown to trust you as their pastor, to believe they had finally found a truly good man or woman who loved them too much to lie. Your affair will leave them reeling.

Best case scenario: they share their emotional upheaval with caring friends and a counselor. Their church pulls together to provide support for many months.

More common scenario: they deal with their emotional upheaval by either 1) checking out (shutting down emotionally, withdrawing from others, or leaving the organized church, perhaps forever) or 2) acting out (self-destructive behaviors like drinking or eating too much, diving into unwise relationships, etc.).

Bottom line: Your affair will shipwreck wounded people who already struggle to keep afloat emotionally.

5) There is hope for the minister who’s had an affair.

It starts with confessing to your spouse, trusted friends, an elder board or personnel committee, and then cutting off all contact with your affair partner.

In the weeks (and consequences) to follow, you may regret confessing when you see the devastation in your family and ministry. You will spend precious time and money on counseling that you may doubt can help you. You will wonder if God can make you whole. You may hate yourself.

It will be the most awful time of your life.

But you will also feel relief when you have nothing to hide.

Your dedication to recovery will help you regain the respect of your children and friends. With tremendous work, your marriage can heal. People will move on to other gossip. You will someday like yourself again.

Bottom line: If you will go through the firestorm ignited when a pastor admits an affair, you will see God bring beauty from the ashes of your life.

There is hope for you, Pastor.

Jennifer Degler, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychologist

A Quick Thought on Planning Organizational Charts for Churches

image

Here is a quick thought when planning your organizational charts — especially for churches

Staff for needs. Don’t staff for structure.

I’ve seen this in so many organizations, but probably especially in the church.

We naturally assume that if a position comes open we have to fill it with the same title and function of the previous position.

That may or may not be wise.

Over time, if we only do what we’ve always done, we can end up with positions that are no longer the best use of limited resources for the church. Other positions that have more immediate relevancy aren’t filled — or even created — because we don’t have the funding to fill them.

This almost always happens as a result of the organization staffing for structure rather than staffing for needs.

The structure should not control staffing positions. Organizational needs should.

Maybe you need a communications director more than you need a _______ (whatever)_____.  Or maybe you need two part-timers in different ministry areas more than you need one full time position. Ministry needs in the church change as the church changes.

Here’s something that’s proven valuable in my experience.

When you have available dollars — or when someone leaves and you have an open position, ask yourself some questions:

  • Who do we need most now?
  • What type person?
  • What role do we need filled?
  • What’s not getting done?
  • What area needs the most attention?
  • Where are the greatest opportunities?
  • What has changed since this position was created?
  • What is the best use of the these resources?
  • Is there a better position out there than our current organizational structure allows?

Staffing a church is important. Kingdom dollars are at stake. We must spend them wisely.

4 Suggestions for Managing the Highs and Lows of Ministry

balance

Pastoring can be an emotional roller coaster at times.

You have a great Sunday and then the critics seem to come out on Monday morning. (Or Sunday walking out of church.)

You have your week planned and numerous crises happen in the same week — and your “day off” is spent part of the day preparing for Sunday. (And, don’t they seem to come around often.)

It seems you can never get ahead and you’re always playing catch-up.

It’s life. It’s ministry. It’s normal. (And, it’s not just pastors.)

Some days are always better than others, but learning how to deal with the highs and lows is a major key in sustaining yourself for ministry long-term.

How do we do that?

Here are four suggestions that help me:

Find your rhythm – You’ll be healthier and happier when you find the balance to your life. When you know the right amount of sleep. When you get an exercise and healthy eating plan. When you learn how to say no to things you simply can’t do or someone else can do better than you. I also find checklists keep me on task. Figure out what works for you and you’ll be in a better rhythm when the harder seasons of life and ministry come. By the way, interruptions aren’t as big an interruption when you plan as if they are normal.

Lean into others – You are not alone. Let me say that again. You are not alone. Think of the story of Elijah (1 Kings 19) and remember — Others are praying for you, God has a plan, and He cares for you! Be willing to humble yourself, be vulnerable, and ask for help when needed. Even see a counselor periodically if it will help. There’s no shame in that. But, surround yourself with people who have access into the deepest parts of your life and the freedom to say the hard words you need to hear.

Become a better delegator – Drop the right to control everything. If I could I would say that to every pastor. The body is well-defined in Scripture. There’s a hand — a foot — a tongue — many parts. Don’t try to do them all. In fact, you can’t be and weren’t designed to be. Be intentional about allowing others to share the burden. That’s good advice not just for Moses — it’s good for you. And, it builds leadership in others that could be the discipleship encouragement they need.

Keep the vision ever before you – Our mission as a church is “Leading people to Jesus and nurturing them in their faith.” I inherited that when I arrived, but it meshes well with my passion for ministry. It’s what gets me out of bed in the morning. When I’m having a bad day, I go back to what I love doing. I intentionally lead. I nurture. I help build disciples. It always fires me up to see someone get more excited about Jesus!

It’s true for all of us, but maybe especially in ministry. We seldom know all the good we are doing. It keeps us dependent on God. My guess is you’re doing better than you think you are and I’m sure of this — your faithfulness will one day be rewarded.

Ministry is hard. It’s even harder when you aren’t prepared. Take some time now and consider how you are responding to the demands of ministry, how you can improve, and developing a plan to address any concerns you uncover.

7 Commandments of Leadership

gavel

Commandments: A divine rule. A rule to be observed strictly.

The 7 Commandments of Leadership:

Thou shalt protect thy character. Who are you when no one is looking? Is who you claim to be who you really are? In my experience, true character is eventually revealed in leadership. Every time. When stress mounts — when pushed in the corners of life — when power rises — when opportunity creates itself to take advantage of others for the benefit of self — true character is revealed.

Thou shalt empower thy people. Delegation is not only necessary to be effective in leadership, it’s a necessity in order to truly be a leader. You’ll either burnout, control people until they burnout, or simply stall everything — and then a leader is no longer needed.

Thou shalt continue to learn. When a leader ceases to learn he or she ceases to grow. Before long the leader has nowhere new to take anyone. And, nothing anyone would want to follow.

Thou shalt remember thy purpose. Zig Ziglar once told me that if you understand the why, the what or how won’t matter as much. I believe he was right. Our purpose fuels us for excellence. We must cast the vision — for ourselves and others — often. Daily even.

Thou shalt embrace healthy conflict. Ain’t it a shame? You have to have conflict to be healthy in relationships. It seems counter-productive, but conflict is really for the good of everyone. A good leader learns to use it for the betterment of the entire team.

Thou shalt persevere. Through good times and bad times, a leader holds the banner high. Press on!

Thou shalt celebrate. Leaders are for progress — but part of progression is appreciating the achievements of days gone by — accomplishments already made. As much as it is a leader’s job to keep things moving forward, people won’t stay motivated unless we recognize they are currently making a difference and have in the past.

Obviously these are man-made commandments, not God-made, so I appreciate your input.

Any you would add?

A Personal Opinion About Investing in the Community

Mother and daughter shopping in supermarket

This is an opinion post. For that matter — this is an opinion blog.

And, I have an opinion.

I think pastors should support their community.

When I was in business I supported the businesses in my community.

I shopped local — and small, independently owned business — whenever possible. I bought cars locally, for example, even though I might have saved a few hundred dollars down the road. I did the majority of my spending with local businesses.

That didn’t mean we didn’t travel — and purchase goods when we did — but when we shopped, we primarily shopped local. The Chamber of Commerce “shop local” campaigns worked for us. :)

If you own a local business, I think you owe it to support the community that helps to feed you. Even if your products are shipped elsewhere, your labor market is likely fairly local. The emergency services, roads, etc. to support the business. All local. Whenever possible — from cars to dentists, to groceries — the more you invest in the local economy the more it can invest in you.

<h3>And I think the same is true for pastors.</h3>

There’s nothing wrong with occasional online purchases, but for the bulk of shopping, we should support the community that supports us and that we hope to reach.

We should invest in the community — because as it prospers, so will the church. Not only for financial reasons either. It is difficult to engage people in the community in which I live when I’m shopping behind a computer or in a bigger city down the road.

That’s my opinion. Again, this is an opinion post.

And, there’s somewhat of a Biblical encouragement to do so.

Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper. Jeremiah 29:7

What do you think?