Thursday, January 22, 2009

Choosing Advisors Carefully

Every governmental leader, corporate leader, and church leader needs to be surrounded by good advisors.

In 1976, Stephen Hess wrote in Organizing the Presidency that in choosing Cabinet members, while the notion of a Cabinet “type” can be overdrawn, there are qualities that the President should look for in public executives. May I suggest that every pastor and church leader will benefit by using similar caution in selecting close advisors.

Persuasiveness. “This is necessary in large, hierarchical organizations where leaders have limited control over personnel and where the tug of inertia may be considerable.”

Personal stability. “This calls for a sturdy internal gyroscope, stamina, and the ability to work under pressure."

Broad-gauged intelligence. “…ability to conceptualize, to see the policy implications and consequences of their actions.”

Flexibility. “They must do so without losing site of the leader's ultimate goals.”

A sense of duty. “Unlike the President and members of Congress, they are not elected. This means, paradoxically, that they must have an even sharper sense of responsibility than an elected official.”

A thick skin. They “should be lightning rods for public unhappiness and, if they are doing their jobs properly, they will deflect from the leader as much criticism as possible.”

Patience and impatience. They must be able to “deal with endless procedures,” hearings and meetings and yet at the same time they “must prod their subordinates to do better and must use their impatience with the status quo as a constructive tool of management.”

These qualities might well be considered when looking for any team of advisors.

[by Michael McKinney]

Church Super Bowl Parties Now Legal

Can churches host Super Bowl parties and escape the wrath of the NFL?

In 2005, the National Football League (NFL) threatened churches with legal action for holding Super Bowl parties and charging admission. According to a Rutherford Institute press release, the League said churches who viewed Super Bowl broadcasts on big-screen televisions at church-sponsored gatherings was a copyright infringement.

However, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell recently stated churches can now watch the Super Bowl live as long as they do not charge an attendance fee. John Whitehead of The Rutherford Institute is thankful for the change.

"Well, churches can now have football parties and show the Super Bowl on a screen larger than 55 inches," he explains. "It's taken two years, basically, of the Rutherford Institute harassing them."

Whitehead notes the conditions. "As long as the viewings are free and they're on the premises of the church," he points out. "So it's legal now and you can do it. The NFL will not harass you."

However, as non-profit organizations, churches can accept donations to offset the cost of the event. "Well, you can ask for donations, in my opinion, for any event in a church," Whitehead concludes. "I wouldn't charge at the door, but sure you can ask for donations. It's a church, it's a non-profit organization, and that's just fine."

Whitehead believes the NFL's decision is a good public relations gesture to the church.


Research on the State of Church Planting in America

Leadership Network commissioned Lifeway Research to research the state of church planting in North America. The findings are encouraging, while pointing out we still have a long way to go.

The State of Church Planting in North America is a four-part report:
- Church Planting Overview,
- Who Starts New Churches,
- Improving the Health and Survivability of New Churches, and
- Funding New Churches.

You can download the study in its entirety here via the American Society of Church Growth Journal.

You can also download a podcast related to the study.

[by Patrick]