Tuesday, February 3, 2009

More Than 5,000 Pastors Take "The Preacher's Pledge"

Pastors across the U.S. and around the globe are affirming The Preacher's Pledge -- a declaration of the centrality of the Bible in preaching and sermon preparation. More than 5,000 preachers have now taken The Pledge, with many more affirming it every day.

The Pledge was introduced by http://www.sermoncentral.com/, the world's most highly trafficked sermon website. More than 250,000 visitors come to the site each month to access over 140,000 sermons and illustrations, amounting to nearly a half-million pages of online Scripture commentary.

"We introduced The Pledge because we think preachers must engage the Bible in their sermon preparation and not simply short-cut the process using someone else's study," says Ron Forseth, general editor for SermonCentral.com. "Our site is a valuable supplement--but not the primary source for a sermon. God's Word is."

Sermon manuscript and illustration databases have been around long before the advent of the Internet. But in the cyber age, the availability of such resources is far greater and, in the case of SermonCentral.com, free. Some preachers have been known to drift from the centrality of the Bible or even plagiarize others' work. The Pledge allows preachers to make a public commitment to integrity in their preaching.

Scott Evans, president of Outreach, Inc., which owns SermonCentral.com, adds, "SermonCentral.com offers an unprecedented opportunity for pastors to share their thinking on various passages of Scripture and relevant topics. We want to strengthen the quality of preaching in pulpits around the world. The Preacher's Pledge is helping to do that by affirming pastors that keep their messages purely and intentionally biblical. With every sermon on our site, we encourage pastors to affirm The Pledge."

The Preacher's Pledge was drafted by a group of Christian leaders on the site's advisory council. The Pledge states:

"I will make the Bible my primary resource in sermon preparation and preaching. I may use other resources such as commentaries and web sites to enhance, not replace, my personal interaction with Scripture. As I study I will strive to accurately understand and honestly apply God's Word, allowing Him to uniquely proclaim His truth in a relevant way through me."

Pastors wishing to affirm The Pledge may do so by visiting www.sermoncentral.com/pledge.

Questions or inquiries may be directed to the site's communications coordinator, Cindy Harper, at support@sermoncentral.com.

[Source: Christian Newswire]

Career Leadership in Difficult Times

10 tips for leading in challenging times:

1. Work hard and perform. Wow, isn’t that profound? I’m serious, though. As leaders, these are times that require sacrifice, hard work, and perseverance. This is how battles are won and great companies get turned around. It’s the collective hard work from each and every one of us, especially our leaders. No one’s going to put in the extra effort if they see their leaders coasting.

2. Radiate confidence and optimism. Another well known blogger said that if a CEO did this, it showed he was clueless. I strongly disagree. Our people need to see that their leaders are not afraid, that we believe in our organization, and that we are committed to success. In recent SmartBreif reader poll, most business leaders said the media’s focus on the negative is hurting businesses. I think it’s true for leaders too – fear and pessimism will make your situation worse.

3. On the other hand… that doesn’t mean we hide the truth and sugar coat bad news. We can do both. Let people know exactly what the situation is and what needs to be done. Ask for their help. Yes, they can “handle the truth”, and once they get over it, will want to pitch in and be willing to sacrifice in the short term for the greater good.

4. Enlist your team’s help. Give them a sense of control, something to do to help make a difference, even if it’s just a small difference. In a crisis, leaders make sure everyone is focused and engaged.

5. Don’t bad mouth your manager, your company, or your co-workers. Don’t point fingers, make excuses, or look for pity or a bailout. Focus on what you and your team can do, and offer to help your manager and co-workers.

6. Don’t take advantage of low turnover and a tight job market to take advantage of your employees, just because you CAN. Again, this is counter to some advice I’ve been reading, and it seems freezing 401K contributions is becoming the latest cost-cutting fad. Take advantage of your employees now, and they will take advantage of you the first chance they get.

7. Tough times are an opportunity to drive change and innovation. No one wants to listen to your radical ideas during good times – there’s no reason to change. Just be smart about it. I’m not talking about panic-driven change, rather well though out process improvements and innovation. It’s a great opportunity to ask “what if…”, and “why not?”

8. Now’s the time to collaborate across functions. Big problems require big, enterprise-wide solutions, so tear down the walls and start working across boundaries. Think task forces, committees, action learning, and Kaizen workshops. Even sworn enemies should be able to band together to fight off an invasion of a common foe.

9. Communicate, communicate, and communicate some more. Got it?

10. It’s a leadership development opportunity - really. As leaders, we all need to learn how to lead during tough times, and how to turn around a struggling organization. It’s a required course in your leadership curriculum. Ask yourself; ten years from now, what would I have liked to learn from all this? And more importantly, how would you like this chapter to read when your leadership biography is written?

[from Great Leadership by Dan McCarthy]