Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Can You Lead With Kindness?

I highly recommend this book. Whether you are a business leader, local church leader, pastor, overseer, or ministry leader, when you read the book you will move toward absorbing the many great insights the book has to offer. The book is research-based, practical and realistic. They suggest that:

Kind leaders are framers. They reinforce expectations for others by establishing clear boundaries, standards of conduct, challenging goals, and organizational values.
Kind leaders are interpreters. They tell the truth about how each person and the entire group is doing. They help individuals adapt to change and make sense of their efforts.
Kind leaders are enablers. They stimulate calculated “stretch” and risk-taking, without sheltering people from their own mistakes. They fight cynicism and facilitate growth.

Baker and O’Malley ascribe six attributes and behaviors to leading with kindness:

Compassion … Staying in touch with people's everyday challenges and problems.
Integrity … Reliably acting on established values and keeping promises and confidences.
Gratitude … Appreciating others for their essential help in keeping a business going.
Authenticity … Being honest about being oneself and not playing for the crowd.
Humility … Tempering optimism with realism and accepting responsibility for failures.
Humor … Tapping the power of laughter to diminish anxieties and bolster group cohesion.

In the end, it gets down to character, maturity and a genuine respect for other people. Kindness is a way of viewing the world and it can only come from within.

Today's Quote

"Great leaders are not great because they are super-human. Instead, they are ordinary but growth-oriented people with character that have chosen to make a commitment to a bold course of action that is in the best interest of those they serve despite the odds."

COG Selects a New Executive Council

The Church of God (Cleveland, TN) is in their General Assembly this week. Today, they finished the selection of the Council of 18, eleven of which are pastors this time.

The complete list selected today is as follows.

- Bryan Cutshall, pastor
- Loran Livingstone, pastor
- Bill Isaacs
- David Cooper, pastor
- Tony Scott, pastor
- Don Walker
- Grant McClung, not under EC appointment (COGTS Professor)
- Lamar Vest, not under EC appointment (American Bible Society)
- Jentzen Franklin, pastor
- Oliver McMahan, pastor
- Gary Sears, pastor
- Nick Park, pastor (international)
- David Mungia, pastor (international)
- Mike Chapman, pastor
- Fedlyn Beason (international)
- Mark Walker, pastor
- Thomas Propes

The Church of God General Council met for its first session yesterday in the AlamoDome in San Antonio, Texas. During the morning session, the group of ordained bishops nominated the Executive Committee for the upcoming 2008-2010 Assembly period.

Accepting the top nomination for the office of General Overseer was Raymond F. Culpepper, first assistant general overseer since he was elected in 2004. Culpepper's nomination by the Council was a mandate as he received more than the required number of votes on the initial nominating ballot. The nominating ballot is followed by subsequent numbered ballots until the number needed to nominate is reached.

"As I stand before you I have two sensations," Culpepper stated as he accepted the nomination from his ministerial peers. "I have an overwhelming sense of honor and thanks, and then an overwhelming responsibility. When I was honored to be elected four years ago as your first assistant, I thought I knew the Church of God. What I have found as I have traveled the world these past four years is a new level of appreciation of the multi-cultural and multi-ethnic background of our movement." The newly-nominated leader of the denomination named and thanked his family, including his wife, Peggy, and promised, "We will give everything we have and everything we are to serve you. Our future is in God's hands and we will go forward together." Dr. Culpepper has served the Church of God as an evangelist, pastor and state youth and Christian education director.

Tim Hill, current second assistant general overseer, was nominated to fill the post of first assistant for the ensuing two years. Hill, who was elected secretary general in 2004 and then to his current post two years later, also went in on the nominating ballot.

"I sense an anointing to serve and assist and I feel very comfortable in this role," Hill stated in accepting the nomination. He has been active in ministry in the Church of God as a pastor, state overseer in Oklahoma and Southern Ohio and evangelist, as well as an elected member of the International Executive Council. He and his wife, Paula, have three daughters.

The next three positions nominated are newcomers to the Executive Committee. For second assistant general overseer, the General Council nominated Mark Williams, current state overseer for the states of California and Nevada. Williams, a former national evangelist and pastor, was nominated on the first ballot.

"There are moments in life when one is at a loss for words," Williams stated to the General Council. "I have a heart filled with gratitude right now for my heritage." He mentioned his parents, his wife, Sandra Kay and his two young children. "I love this church because of its heritage, its Pentecostal distinctives and its future. Thank you for inviting me to serve with this leadership."

David Griffis was nominated by the General Council to become the next third assistant general overseer. The current state overseer for Tennessee, Griffis has a long record of leadership in youth ministry, including state director for three states/regions, assistant and general director of youth and Christian education for the denomination and state overseer in West Virginia.

Griffis was humbled by his nomination stating, "My heart is overwhelmed ... from the depths of my being I am grateful to my family and my fellow ministers ... so many of you have had an influence on my life. The finest hours are ahead for the Church of God and I am willing to spend and be spent for this church. I will do my very best." David Griffis is married to Judy and they have two children.

The final nomination for the Executive Committee went to Dr. Wallace Sibley, the current international director for evangelism and home missions. Sibley, who is the first ethnic to be nominated to the Committee, has a long history of leadership in the Church of God, including director of Cross-Cultural Ministries, state overseer for Southern New England and Florida Cocoa and a local pastor, also holds the distinction of being the first person of color elected to the Council of 18.

"I approach this podium with love and respect for this church," Sibley stated. "I am overwhelmed by the vote of confidence and I pledge my full support to these leaders and to this church. I want to help our general overseer be the best that he can be and I believe God has His hand on this church." Sibley, and his wife, Dorothy, are the parents of four children.

In the closing hour of the morning session the General Council continued with nominations, completing the vote for director and assistant directors of the department of youth and Christian education. Thomas Madden, the current assistant director of the department, was nominated by the General Council to be elevated to the top post. Madden has spent his entire ministerial career in youth ministry, beginning as a youth pastor and then serving in two states as a youth director before spending 14 years as youth ministries coordinator for the youth and C.E. department where he was instrumental in developing the successful Winterfest program.

"I believe in youth ministry because I am a part of it," Madden stated upon accepting the nomination. "I am a product of our youth ministry, Lee University and of the Seminary ... I want to tell you that when we speak of our youth today, not all news is bad news. I want to equip our young people and release them to go to places will never go ... I will fight for this generation, for that's the only way to win it." Madden's family includes his wife, Charla, and three children.

Nominated to replace Madden as assistant director was Gary Lewis, state youth director of South Carolina, who said, "I am committed to the youth of our church ... there is a revival brewing among our young people and I commit myself to Brother Madden and the youth of this church." Lewis' ministerial resume includes leadership as a state director in five states/regions, including South Georgia, Eastern North Carolina and Iowa/Nebraska. He is married to Lori and they have two children.

As the morning session of the General Council adjourned, the body of ordained bishops had cast the first votes for director of Evangelism and Home Missions. As they returned for the afternoon and evening sessions, votes were cast for the director and assistant director of Evangelism and Home Missions and director and assistant director of World Missions and the International Executive Council.

Students Challenged to be More than Sunday Christians

Thousands of students from the Assemblies of God are in Charlotte, N.C., this week for a major youth convention, hoping to be "led by fire" and to go back to their homes without extinguishing that flame.

"This week we're on fire for God ... God's doing incredible things. Last month or the month before we were at youth camp. God impacted our lives ... but what about in between? Were you still led by fire or were you led back to sin?" Steve Pulis, national student outreach director for the Assemblies of God, posed to students Monday night.

"When the tough times come, too often it's hard for us to live out the commitment of being led by fire."

Over 10,000 students have gathered for Charlotte08 which is comprised of a Fine Arts Festival, Ambassadors in Mission outreach and other activities. Under the theme of "Led by Fire," students are encouraged to use their gifts to glorify God and to also join with other churches in the are to minister to the city of Charlotte.

"God wants more than just a Sunday morning in youth service commitment," Pulis told the young crowd. "There's more to the commitment of following Jesus than just asking for forgiveness.

"Making the commitment to follow him, well that's easy. But living the commitment? That's where the work comes in."

"God wants you to be led by fire all of your life," he stressed.

Organizers of Charlotte08 want this to be about more than an event. They want to see the younger generation discover their gifts and deploy those talents.

"God is raising up a generation of underdogs to be champions for Christ and this is our opportunity to be a part of His plan for each of their lives. This is our chance to challenge students and leaders to be led by fire," National Youth Director Jay Mooney told staff, according to the Assemblies of God News Service.

As for reaching out to Charlotte, Ambassadors in Mission is partnering with MEGA Sports Camp to use sports as an evangelism and discipleship tool to reach out to the city.

"Traditional church outreaches are not always the most effective in today’s youth culture," said Jim Wellborn, national AIM liaison. "The training and curriculum provided by Mega Sports will greatly benefit the city of Charlotte while also giving our students the experience and confidence to bring similar, relevant outreaches back home to their local communities."

Last year, in Indianapolis, the Assemblies of God launched a major campus evangelism initiative, called Dreaming 2015, with the vision of reaching 1 million American teens and grafting them into a local church by 2015. Over 5,200 students were commissioned as missionaries to their campus.

Pastor Jentezen Franklin Being Considered for Appointment

An update from the Church of God General Assembly indicates that Jentezen Franklin, CEO of Jentezen Franklin Ministries, and Pastor of Free Chapel in Gainsville, Georgia, is being considered to serve on the Council of 18, the Church of God's highest board.

Pastors Are Getting a Lot of Attention at the COG Assembly

It seems that Pastors are getting much attention in the business meetings of the Church of God General Assembly going on this week in San Antonio, Texas right now.

So far there are 5 members of the Executive Council (council of 18). They are, in order of their nomination: Bryan Cutshall, Loran Livington, BIll Isaacs, David Cooper, and Tony Scott … 4 of the first 5 have been pastors.

Some are predicting that as many as 13 Pastors could be selected.

How To Keep Your Family Together

It's never too late to take the right steps to keep your family together when they're being pulled in so many directions at once.

Family Rituals

Family rituals give the family something to count on. This further contributes to a happy, solid home life. Family rituals are also a way not to lose each other in the hustle and bustle of modern life.

Yvonne and I set aside certain times during the week or weekend when our family will definitely come together as a family — no excuses. It could be having pizza Friday night followed by a big game night. Kids might gripe now and then when the family ritual interferes with going to the mall with a friend, but deep down they love the family together times.

Play Time (together!)

Parents who play with and joke with their children while sharing their thoughts and feelings end up having children who are more friendly, generous, and loving. Remember to promote loving feelings in your children — not just through words, but through your actions and through your willingness to enjoy your children.

A Closed Door

When it’s time to be together, leave the outside world outside your home. This is a tough exercise in this stressful world, but it’s important not to always be multitasking as a parent.
Put down your cell phone and don’t check e-mails while you’re supposedly spending quality time with the kids.

You can even take this one step further. Try to take a certain amount of time each day and just focus on being a parent. Shut the rest of it out. Don’t think about homeowner’s taxes, the fact that the new water heater is on the fritz, or that your contractor is still camped out in the kitchen.

During your alone time with your children try to shut out everything, but them. The rest will be waiting for you so why dilute the time you have as a parent? The kids always know when your focus is really elsewhere. Don’t be there without really being present.

When it comes to relationships, you have to be intentional. You have to be proactive. Your family is being pulled in a thousand directions at once; it’s up to you to make sure things stay together.

The good news is that your kids will respond to your efforts to make a great family — even if they don’t know how to react at first. Stick with it. You have what it takes to be a great family.

[John Tesh]